cover image The Long Kill

The Long Kill

Reginald Hill, Patrick Ruell. Foul Play Press, $15.95 (251pp) ISBN 978-0-88150-102-5

Eminent British author Reginald Hill, writing as Patrick Ruell, tells a feverishly suspenseful story here. A political assassin identified only by the terse surname Jaysmith, is sent to England's Lake District, where he misses his target, Steven Bryant. Since his forte, ""the long kill'' with the aid of a telescopic lens, is becoming impossible due to his failing eyesight, he phones in his resignation to the man he knows as Jacob in London. Later, the ex-gunman buys a cottage and meets a young widow, Anya Wilson, her small son and her father, whom Jaysmith recognizes as Bryant. The future seems bright for Jaysmith as he and Anya plan marriage, but Jacob suddenly materializes with armed hirelings to dispose of Steven and Anya. Alerted to a conspiracy, Jaysmith braves overwhelming odds in the shoot-out that caps the novel's shocking disclosure. This taut thriller is a tour de force enhanced by the author's evocations of the English countryside's natural splendor. (April)