cover image The Assassins Gallery

The Assassins Gallery

David L. Robbins, . . Bantam, $25 (432pp) ISBN 978-0-553-80441-6

Set in 1945 near the end of WWII, Robbins's daring thriller opens with a brutal, brilliantly described double murder on the beach near Newburyport, Mass. From that scene to the end of the novel, the author's sure-handed control of his material never lets up, aided by his clear focus on the killer, a woman named "Judith," and the man assigned to solve the murders, professor Mikhal Lammeck, an expert in the methods of assassins. As Lammeck's investigations take him up and down the East Coast and, increasingly, to Washington, D.C., he comes to realize that someone may be trying to assassinate President Roosevelt. Robbins (War of the Rats ) has an uncanny ability to provide just the right amount of historical detail without overwhelming the plot. This talent, coupled with superior characterization and a masterful, direct writing style will provide thriller lovers with one of their best reads of the year. The powerful climax deserves the term "heart-stopping." (Aug.)