cover image The Assassins

The Assassins

Gayle Lynds. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-312-38090-8

Bestseller Lynds (The Book of Spies) starts more strongly than she finishes this romance-laced suspense novel. In Baghdad in April, 2003, six international assassins, to whom Saddam Hussein owes $12 million, are worried that they’ll never get paid after the American invaders confiscate all the dictator’s assets. So they steal a limestone tablet worth $12 million from a museum, but the artifact ends up broken into multiple pieces, and the murderous crew’s British member, Burleigh Morgan, is blown up in his car after he attempts to reassemble it. Meanwhile, former military intelligence operative Judd Ryder returns home to Washington, D.C., where he finds that someone is impersonating him and soon witnesses his double’s murder. Judd teams with apprentice CIA spy Eva Blake (“of the long red hair and the cobalt-blue eyes that could pierce him to the soul”) to figure out what’s going on. A routine plot and stock characters make this a lesser effort for Lynds. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency. (June)