When a tycoon apparently falls from his yacht and drowns, the two secret service operatives who have in fact murdered him are also killed. The top secret governmental organisation that had employed them needs to find new recruits. Peter Slater, a former SAS soldier, is working as a games master in a public school. When he foils an attempt by terrorists to kidnap an Arab boy, the boy is hurt and Slater is sacked. Down on his luck he is framed for the murder of his girlfriend, and blackmailed into working for MI7. The missions he is asked to undertake on behalf of the British government become so evil that he finds himself preferring to die rather than complete these missions successfully.
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Though The Hit List addresses the old chestnut of the military professional who cannot escape his true calling, it's got a solid backbone derived in no small part from ex-SAS author Ryan's explicit knowledge of death-laden situations. Armed with the vivid technical detail that raw experience provides, danger leaps off the page, evaded only by finely tuned intuition and training, rather than by some well-worn cliché. This is marvellously evident in Neil Slater, the ex-SAS serviceman whose chances at a peaceful life are shattered when he is approached by elite assassination squad "The Cadre", who have use for his anti-social skills in dispatching "enemies of the State". Slater is under no illusion of what he is, comfortable in the "Darklands", despite the psychological difficulties it causes him. More than a emotionally-barren, pain-thriving superman--Slater bleeds, he suffers, but all the time he is the battle-honed professional. As such, he is a perfect vessel for Ryan's hardened brand of realism, thrust into situations where each act of violence is measured to provoke an exact response:
Slater shot Pasquale through the top of the arch of his right foot. The pain, he knew, would be extreme...and the shock would be sufficient to break any resistance immediately.Such realism is accentuated by Ryan's use of real-life figures, with the late Robert Maxwell's plot-pivotal appearance being chillingly appealing as well as being an excellent hook, given his conspiracy strewn legacy. Another hugely enjoyable offering from Ryan, whose fluid translation of his adventurous past to gritty bullet-paced fiction offers a feast for the reader who craves a glimpse into an underworld of intrigue and extreme violence. --Danny Graydon Review:
"A helter-skelter adrenaline rush...gripping." -" Irish Independent "Plenty of insider knowledge on SAS covert procedures." - "Yorkshire Evening Post "Heart-in-mouth action." - "Mirror
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Book Description 2001-06-01., 2001. Book Condition: New. Arrow Books Ltd. New edition. Paperback. Book: VERY GOOD. 464pp. . Bookseller Inventory # NF-1201714
Book Description 2001-06-01., 2001. Book Condition: New. Arrow Books Ltd. New Edition. Paperback. Book: GOOD. 455pp. . Bookseller Inventory # NF-1737497