“There had to be a hurt present, a pain that never left you, to make you take a gun or a knife or your hands and force the life out of another human being over and over and over.”
This is the second book in a series. This review contains no spoilers for The Innocent, aside from the obvious – the survival of the main character.
The Hit, by David Baldacci
#2 in the Will Robie series
Grand Central Publishing, April 2013
392 pages (hardcover)
Will Robie is a master of killing.
A highly skilled assassin, Robie is the man the U.S. Government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst — enemies of the state, monsters committed to harming untold numbers of innocent victims.
No one else can match Robie’s talents as a hitman… no one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, equally professional and dangerous, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now, she’s gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency.
To stop one of their own, the government looks again to Will Robie. His mission: bring in Reel, dead or alive. Only a killer can catch another killer, they tell him.
But as Robie pursues Reel, he quickly finds that there is more to her betrayal than meets the eye. Her attacks on the agency conceal a larger threat, a threat that could send shockwaves through the U.S. government and around the world.
I’ve read almost everything Baldacci has published, and while they’re mostly entertaining, it’s hit or miss on whether they really grab me. The Innocent, which was released last spring, was a hit. So I was looking forward to seeing if I’d feel the same way about The Hit.
Fortunately, the premise was exciting and I enjoyed the play between the two assassins. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a rather awkward sequel. Some sequels re-use a main character, and maybe some supporting cast, but the story stands completely alone. Some sequels just don’t work unless you read the first book. This fell somewhere in the middle.
While the plot of The Hit does stand alone, there are several secondary characters from the first book that make appearances, and past events that are recalled. But it had been so long since I’d read The Innocent that I felt a little lost in some spots. It didn’t affect too much in the grand scheme of things, but I wanted either fewer of these references, or more of an explanation. I think taking it in either direction would have made this a stronger story for both new readers and returning fans.
Robie is a pretty interesting character, as thriller heroes go, with plenty of internal conflict as he struggles between what he does and who he is. But if the premise of this one interests you, I’d highly recommend reading The Innocent first. Not only does The Hit spoil several elements of the first one, but The Innocent is just a better book, in my opinion. And if you do enjoy that one, I’d suggest reading this soon after.
Does this sound like something you’d pick up? What are some sequels that you feel didn’t quite live up to the first book?