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The Killing Kind (Paperback)
Fran was absolutely right when she said Chris Holm’s The Killing Kind was a terrific book that I needed to read. Though he’s published short stories for year, this is his debut crime novel and it is a smooth first novel that zips along at rapid pace, laced with dark humor and fully-fleshed characters.
The gist of the book is assassins hunting assassins. Michael Hendricks was an American Special Forces special ops guy who was thought killed in Afghanistan. He’s played dead ever since, making himself known to only one guy – a former squad mate. Guilt over bad things done in the name of country leads Hendricks to attempt to make amends by protecting those targeted for assassination. For a fee, he promises to kill the assassin before the killer can kill the target. Nearly all of the killers have been working for the Corporation, the governing alliance of America’s organized crime, and these crime bosses are not happy at having their plans thwarted, let alone losing a hefty number of valuable professional killers over the last couple of years. They don’t know who Hendricks is, but they know he’s out there and they hire the best assassin in the business to stop him. Thus begins the deadly dance – made even more complicated by the FBI agent who has been after “her ghost” (as she refers to Hendricks).
Holm has a lively style. “The bass-drum thud of an approaching helicopter roused him slightly. A news chopper, likely peeling off from the swarm that hovered over Pendelton’s like blowflies over carrion when they caught wind on their scanner of yet another juicy morsel from their never-ending misery buffet just down the road.” Black humor is threaded through the gunsmoke and blood. In that, Holm’s writing reminded me of Don Winslow’s The Death and Life of Bobby Z, the crime novels of Charlie Huston, James W. Hall, and Gillian Flynn. It’s the laughter of the hangman, acknowledging the ludicrousness of human schemes and frailities. Still, The Killing Kind is grounded in the real trauma of personal loss - of lost love, lost friends and lost ideals.
The Killing Kind by Chris Holm comes out next week. Believe Fran on this one – a bloody and funny thrill ride not to be missed.— JB
A hitman who only kills other hitmen winds up a target himself.
- Winner of the Anthony Award for Best Novel- Nominated for the Lefty Award for Best World Mystery Novel- Nominated for the Best Thriller Barry Award- Nominated for the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery
Michael Hendricks kills people for money. That aside, he's not so bad a guy.
Once a covert operative for a false-flag unit of the US military, Hendricks was presumed dead after a mission in Afghanistan went sideways. He left behind his old life--and beloved fiancee--and set out on a path of redemption...or perhaps one of willful self-destruction.
Now Hendricks makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts--he only hits other hitmen. For ten times the price on your head, he'll make sure whoever's coming to kill you winds up in the ground instead. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill-set to make a living--but a great way to make himself a target.
About the Author
Chris Holm is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, and The Best American Mystery Stories. His critically acclaimed trilogy of Collector novels, which blends fantasy with old-fashioned crime pulp, appeared on over forty Year's Best lists. He lives in Portland, Maine.