Calling Mr. King

Ronald De Feo. Other Press, $14.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-59051-475-7
An assassin buckling under the demands of his profession develops an appreciation for art in De Feo's dark debut. The assassin, a crack shot known by the alias Peter Chilton, has grown weary of trailing targets through a blur of cosmopolitan cities and finely appointed country estates. It is not the moral burden of his accumulated crimes that tires him but the vapidity of the endless hunt. Yearning for an education, Peter begins to cultivate a taste for architecture and painting, interests that distract him from his work, and after he screws up a job, Peter is sent to New York City to rest, allowing him to further indulge his emerging cultural appetite and a growing resentment of his working-class roots. But his vacation is brought to an abrupt end when he is dispatched on a critical assignment that will change his life. It's an engrossing story, persuasively depicting an angry, obsessive man as he comes to a greater awareness of the world around him. And though Peter's pursuits—of art, enlightenment, his targets—begin to feel monotonous in their relentlessness, De Feo's master strokes are in creating a remorseless psychopath you'd enjoy spending time with, and in resisting the easy temptation to bring Peter to a moment of emotional deliverance. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
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