“The Perfect Assassin”
by Ward Larsen
Oceanview Publishing, Ipswich, Massachusetts
ISBN-10: 1-933515-01-5

If you’re looking for a summer thriller to take to the beach or mountains, you can’t go wrong picking up a copy of “The Perfect Assassin,” written by a former fighter pilot with a firm grasp on pacing and personal knowledge of foreign locales.

One of the cover blurbs compares the book to those by Robert Ludlum, but for my money Ward Larsen in the better plotter.

The action revolves around an Israeli plan to provide safe harbor for two nuclear bombs secretly developed (with Israeli help) by South Africa. The plan is sabotaged, setting in motion a wild scramble to salvage the bombs from the ocean floor while tracking down and eliminating the turncoast suspected of scuttling the ship.

Into the middle of this wild international storm sails an unsuspecting American doctor on a solo trip across the Atlantic to bring her recently-deceased father’s sailboat home. She picks up a Norwegian shipwreck survivor — and is sucked into a whirlwind of plots and counterplots, killings and attempted killings, disguises and changes of identity and spy tradecraft.

A Scotland Yard inspector with an aversion to modern technology proves a soothing and persistent investigator of the eruption of violence swirling onshore, centered around a seemingly innocent American doctor, an unstoppable Israeli assassin on a personal vendetta, terrorists fishing for more than orange roughy, and collapsing Middle East governments.

Villains receive their comeuppance. Heroes receive their reward, bittersweet for some. Politicians, if honest, work towards compromise; if dishonest, towards self-serving mayhem.

Questions are answered, but some answers wait till the last page.

All in all, highly satisfactory reading while slathering on sunscreen.

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