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    Review of THE EXECUTIONER'S GAME by Gary Hardwick

    William Morrow, January 2005

    Assassin Luther Green is a patriot. He serves his country in the way he knows best--by following orders and by killing those who are deemed a threat to the nation. When he's called back to headquarters, he knows this won't be a routine kill. Still, he's startled to learn that his next assignment is the man who brought him into E-1, the secret agency responsible for America's ultimate sanctions. Alex had trained him, inspired him, but now he's a threat to the country--and Luther knows how to follow orders. The only problem is, something about this particular job stinks.

    It doesn't take Luther long to realize that he's following a trail that Alex has carefully laid down. Alex is trying to teach Luther something, show him something about E-1 that would prove that the Agency has gone off-wire. Luther isn't buying, and even if he did, he's been assigned a job and he intends to complete it.

    Alex's trail takes him through the inner cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia, and finally Detroit--cities where drugs and guns cheapen life to the point where professional assassins fit right in. Alex's message is getting through, but Luther has sacrificed his entire life to his country and isn't about to be stopped. Only when the true coverup becomes known can Luther confront the real enemy.

    Author Gary Hardwick delivers an exciting story of assassination, martial arts action, and inner-city drama. Making Luther a black protagonist in a profession dominated by whites adds to the conflict--and heightens his sense of betrayal when the secrets are finally revealed.

    Hardwick's writing is occasionally clunky, but mostly workmanlike, moving the story along while deepening the reader's interest and buy-in to the characters. Overall, THE EXECUTIONER'S GAME is definitely worth the read.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 3/22/05

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