Hour of the Assassin by Matthew Quirk #BookReview #BlogTour

Former Secret Service agent, Nick Averose, must expose a dark conspiracy in this electrifying thriller from New York Times bestselling author Matthew Quirk.

His job is to protect them.

As a secret service agent, Nick Averose spent a decade guarding the most powerful people in the US. Now, he's a mock killer, testing the security around the highest officials to find vulnerabilities, before America's enemies can.

But now someone's out to get him.

Nick's latest assignment leads him to the home of a former CIA director. But when he breaches the director's study, Nick is entangled in a vicious crime. One that will shake Washington to its foundations.

He's the perfect scapegoat.

Nick needs to find out who is framing him for the crime and why. If he can't uncover the truth, a dark conspiracy will consume him and everyone else within the Oval Office...

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Hour of the Assassin today. Many thanks to Matthew Quirk and to Andrew Knowles at Head of Zeus for inviting me and for my advance digital copy of the novel.

Hour of the Assassin hits the ground running and immediately grabbed my attention as Nick Averose stealthily and successfully breaches the home of a former CIA director. His expertise soon finds him in position to assassinate Malcolm Widener but that's not why he is here. Nick's services are in high demand as a mock assassin, hired to expose the security weaknesses of the rich and powerful. However, what he believes to have been another efficacious job very quickly goes terribly wrong and he realises that he's been set up in an audacious sting.
As Nick tries to figure out who has targeted him and why, the pace rarely lets up. This is undoubtedly a plot-driven thriller but the characters are still interesting enough to hold my attention and to ensure I became invested in what would happen to them. Nick is particularly fascinating; as a former Secret Service agent, he's been around the scheming and chicanery in Washington for years but still finds himself vulnerable when some of the most ruthless players need to remove all links to a long-held dark secret and to subsequently frame a convenient scapegoat.
As he tries to ascertain what's going on, his options seem limited, especially as the chapters which follow the perpetrators make it ominously clear that they will stop at nothing to see their plans through — and have both the will and the prowess to do so. Washington is unquestionably shaped by money and who has the dirt on who but the almost incestuous nature of the place is really laid bare here. It's all only too convincing and does exactly what a political thriller should — it opens our eyes to what we already suspect happens. That politicking is a dirty business shouldn't come as a surprise and although the storyline is obviously exaggerated and embellished for the sake of high drama, this convincing behind the curtain look at how morals for sale ultimately decides who runs the country is consistently riveting.
As Nick is forced to confront some shocking revelations, he has to decide how far he is prepared to go to protect himself and others in what becomes a relentless face-off between determined and highly skilled adversaries. He doesn't work alone but nevertheless, he becomes increasingly isolated as he begins to unpick the web that has ensnared him. Who he trusts and who he exposes to danger are equally pressing considerations and this twisty thriller kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. 
This compelling tale of corruption at almost the highest level is disconcertingly plausible yet it still allows us to find consolation in and to cheer for the principled few who take on the conspirators and defend what is right. Hour of the Assassin is the first book I've read by Matthew Quirk but I hope it won't be the last. Propulsive, exciting and with a cracking sense of place; I enjoyed it immensely. 

Hour of the Assassin is published in the UK by Aries, an imprint of Head of Zeus. Purchasing links can be found here but please support independent bookshops whenever possible.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Matthew Quirk is the New York Times bestselling author of The 500, The Directive, Dead Man Switch, Cold Barrel Zero, and The Night Agent. He spent five years at The Atlantic magazine reporting on crime, private military contractors, terrorism prosecutions, and international gangs before turning to fiction. An Edgar award finalist and winner of the ITW Thriller Award for Best First Novel, Quirk lives in San Diego.