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The Kill List by Frederick Forsyth | Book Review

Ever since his rise to fame with The Day of the Jackal (Published in 1971), Frederick Forsyth has created a niche and fan following.

The theme of his stories has travelled through post world war era – to cold war – to troubled Middle East and now international terrorism. Published in 2013 by Random House, The Kill List is latest adventure by him that made to the bestseller list in United States.

Book Title : The Kill List
Author :
Publisher : RHUK (3 September 2013)
# of Pages : 352 (Paperback)
Purchase Link(s) : Indian readers: Buy it from Amazon India
International readers: Buy it from Amazon

In the typical Frederick Forsyth opening, he gives us a glimpse into a very high level, secretive group within the security hierarchy of USA, known as Technical Operations Support Activity, or TOSA. The specialty of this group is to track, hunt and kill. “The Kill List” comprises of names that pose extremely high threat to the USA and its people. These are the criminals who need to be taken out of equation, no matter at what cost. The President of USA approves the list and the hunters close in for kill without questions or qualms. Like “The Afghan”, Forsyth once again takes us through life and death of Osama Bin Laden and how USA tracked him down in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

As the story begins, “The Tracker” of the group is given a new target. The prey is known as “The Preacher”. He is a fiery orator whose internet sermons have started to create disruptions in both USA and UK. Initially, it just appears to be a few entirely disconnected murders, until a pattern starts to emerge. In each case, the killer went through a transformation not long before the murders. They became reclusive, religious and silent. On each killer’s computer police found links to religious sermons, where an unknown man with his face covered, asked them to purge their life and devote it to the cause. The sermons started simply and gradually brainwashed the follower, until he/she is asked to commit the supreme sacrifice, kill a prominent member of the western society around them and be admitted to heaven.

Unfortunately, there is no information available on the man delivering the sermons. The authorities call him “The Preacher”. When the death toll becomes serious, TOSA is given the task to find him and eliminate him. To start with, “The Tracker” finds a computer genius in form of a socially incapable teenager, whose entire world exists in computers. Settled in his attic bedroom in a corner of USA, he manages to track the computer which is used to upload the sermons. He also finds out the financial face of the organisation in form of a Pakistani spice merchant based in London.

Hidden in the depths of Africa, is the new arm of Osama Bin Laden’s followers who want to continue the legacy of terrorism. Tis barely civilised part of Africa is not even infiltrated by special agents and spies from any leading western countries. But, as usual, there is only one agency that has presence there, the Israeli MOSAD. TOSA requests Mosad and they come to an agreement to share the MOSAD agent for tracking “the Preacher”.

Step-by-step, “The Tracker” builds up a picture of the killer. He tracks the identity down to a young, volatile boy in Pakistan who was part of Lasker-e-Taiba and then later left it to pursue higher goals and become “The Preacher” in the end. But he also learns that “The Preacher” is extraordinarily slippery and elusive. He has managed to survive so far, because he doesn’t stay at one place or trust any one long enough. Just knowing who he is can take him only so far. Although he knows who uploads the sermons and from where, The Tracker has no way of knowing when the Preacher will actually be there.

On a sidetrack, the Nigerian pirates capture a merchant ship with very precious cargo without realising what they have got in their hands. But, this seemingly unconnected story gives “The Tracker” his opportunity. And although not all of it is official or authorised, he goes ahead at last to find the man and kill him with his own hands. Why has this hunt become a personal vendetta for the Tracker? Do they actually find the right man?

The Kill List – Book Trailer – by transworldvideos at YouTube:

Generally, the Frederick Forsyth stories build up and build up and lead to a not so exciting anti-climax. This book also has that, but not to the extent of his other works, mainly because the canvas is relatively small. It is simpler, with not so many side tracks and almost straight forward. An uncomplicated, light, travel read…….


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