cover image Work Done for Hire

Work Done for Hire

Joe Haldeman. Ace, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-425-25688-6

Jack Daley is a struggling author and former military sniper offered two very different jobs: a lucrative Hollywood novelization deal that might jumpstart his career, and an unwanted, mysterious assassination contract. If he kills the target, he’ll get $100,000; if he refuses, his would-be employer will kill his girlfriend, Kit. Refreshingly, Kit is no damsel in distress, and she easily snaps into survival mode. Jack and Kit are smarter than the story they’re trapped in, able to see and exploit the plot holes. Unfortunately, even excerpts from Jack’s alien serial killer novel can’t make the first half of Jack and Kit’s story move faster, but Haldeman’s experience and skill show in his effortless characterization and tense plotting. Thriller fans will enjoy the smart, fast, and unpredictable story, though fans of Haldeman’s SF (Marsbound, etc.) might wish for more development of the very-near-future setting. (Jan.)