Wednesday, January 25, 2012


3.5 of 5 stars 

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“The Gauntlet Assassin” is the story of 42-year-old Lara Evans, a former cop turned paramedic, in this futuristic thriller.  Lara has won her state’s competition for the chance to compete in The Gauntlet, a futuristic Olympics. The prize for winning is a windfall of money and jobs for the competitor’s home state and in the year 2023, this is the best chance for any state to curb the 20% unemployment rate.  Federal financial help is non-existent and states are left to fend for themselves.

The author gives us snippets of Lara’s previous life as a cop, but there is a fair amount of “telling” instead of “showing” and this stopped me from really identifying with Lara’s experiences and how those changed her into the woman we see in the story.  I would have loved to know more about her background, but as she moved onto the competition, her determination, grit and never-give-up drive shines through.  Along with Lara’s story is a parallel story about Paul Madsen, a seemingly bland computer data whiz who is given a top-clearance federal project. Throw into the mix is a scandal, a murder and a hunky detective and “The Assassin Gauntlet” is a riveting thriller. Both Lara’s harrowing competition events and Paul’s escalating manipulations of a federal employee database intersect throughout the book and come together in an explosive conclusion.

I enjoyed this book, but I found the ending a bit rushed especially between Lara and the homicide detective. The final shocking detail involving a high-ranking officer of The Gauntlet was a little over the top and seemed to be added to justify some moral sense of justice and not particularly necessary to the storyline.  All in all, this story is a good thriller about an underdog who refuses to give up and will do whatever it takes to bring home the prize.

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