Hour of the Assassin
PublisherHead of Zeus
Date Published03 June 2021
Price£ 18.99

Hour of the Assassin

by Matthew Quirk

Security consultant Nick Averose has been set up to take the fall for a crime he didn’t commit. At the same time, Senator Sam McDonough is about to embark on a bid for the presidency and his backer is determined that nothing – and no one – is going to stand in their way.


Senator Sam McDonough intends to make a bid for the White House and his backer, David Blakely is certain that now is the right time to push on with their plans. Blakely has been close to McDonough since they were at school together and now he has enough money to further both his own ambition and McDonough’s. There’s just one problem … there’s a skeleton in the senator’s closet.

Blakely is concerned that it’s about to start rattling rather loudly and he has no intention of letting anything stand between McDonough and the presidency, especially not a dirty little secret that should have stayed buried.

Nick Averose is a secret service agent turned private security contractor. Nick’s job is to test for security weaknesses and to advise on how to eradicate them and to do that, he needs to get into the minds of the bad guys and think the way they think. His latest job is to stage a mock break-in at the home of Malcolm Weidener, a former director of the CIA, but Nick isn’t the only person staging something …

After he successfully completes the Weidener security review, Nick starts to think there’s something odd about the job as his person responsible for his instructions for the job had failed to clear his methods with Weidener, despite saying she would. Then matters take a rapid turn for the worst as the man’s home comes under attack and he’s killed, leaving Nick as the prime suspect in the killing. Nick has no intention of waiting for law enforcement to arrive and then trying to protest his innocence. He’d much rather do his own investigating.

I liked Nick Averose from the start. He’s a competent, decent bloke, tough without been macho. Blakely, on the other hand, comes over as the sort of man who’d sell his own mother down the river if he thought it would give him an advantage. McDonough is somewhere in between the two, but his flaw lies in having sold his soul to Blakely. The bad guy’s net starts to close in around Nick in a dangerous game of cat and mouse where it’s not always certain who’s playing which part.

The plot twists aren’t terribly hard to anticipate, but the action is vivid and the characters interesting, even if not always likeable. If you like US thrillers then it’s a reasonably safe bet that Hour of the Assassin will appeal, and I’m willing to bet that Nick Averose changes his underwear more often than Jack Reacher does, which is always a point in a hero’s favour.

Reviewed 23 October 2021 by Linda Wilson