Barry Eisler’s ‘Killer Collective’ joins his past heroes in topnotch page turner

SHARE Barry Eisler’s ‘Killer Collective’ joins his past heroes in topnotch page turner
barryeisler_e1549398701938.jpg

Barry Eisler has assembled the most memorable characters from his 14 previous novels and given each a major role in “The Killer Collective.” There’s Livia Lone, John Rain, Dox, Delilah and Ben Trever and Daniel Larison. | Provided photo

At first blush, Barry Eisler’s new thriller “The Killer Collective” (Thomas & Mercer, $24.95) resembles one of those cartoonish action movies in which a handful of retired covert operators who don’t trust each other must join forces for one last job.

Eisler has assembled the most memorable characters from his 14 previous novels and given each one a major role in “The Killer Collective.”

There’s Livia Lone, a Seattle sex crimes investigator who would rather kill perverts than jail them. And John Rain, Eisler’s breakthrough character, an assassin who specializes in “natural causes.” Delilah, a treacherous Mossad agent, is here. As are Dox, a former Marine sniper, and deadly black ops soldiers Ben Trever and Daniel Larison. Plus there’s the pair’s old commander, Scott Horton.

As the story begins, all but Lone have retired to quiet lives. Until trouble finds them.

The action starts when someone who wants to remain unknown uses Horton to arrange a hit. He’ll pay Rain a million dollars to kill a Seattle cop and two FBI agents if the hit man can make the deaths appear accidental.

After Rain turns down the job, an airliner carrying the FBI agents crashes into Lake Michigan. A team of assassins tries to bushwhack Lone and botches the job. And Horton and Rain barely escape when the unknown bad guy tries to tie up loose ends.

Lone and the FBI agents had been marked for death after uncovering a pedophile ring involving six Secret Service agents. Such a scandal would be embarrassing, but would someone really bring down an airliner to cover it up? A more nefarious conspiracy must be at work.

So Lone and Rain join forces, and the “Killer Collective” is assembled to identify the conspirators and take them out.

Unlike movies like “Red” (featuring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren), Eisler’s tale is anything but cartoonish.

The most compelling part of the story is the way the author portrays the complex relationships among his characters, from old romantic involvements to past betrayals that have them bristling with distrust. All of that will need to be overcome if they’re to work as a team.

Eisler, a former covert operative for the CIA, knows this turf.

As usual with an Eisler novel, the plot is loaded with twists, the prose is muscular, and the action unfolds at a torrid pace.

The result is another page turner from one of the better thriller writers since James Grady published “Six Days of the Condor” in 1974.

“The Killer Collective” by Barry Eisler. | Thomas & Mercer

“The Killer Collective” by Barry Eisler. | Thomas & Mercer

The Latest
NFL
Green Bay GM Brian Gutekunst remained optimistic the Packers and Love could reach a deal soon. He noted that Love is participating in all other team activities.
It was one of Williams’ better practices since the Bears drafted him. Fellow rookie Rome Odunze looked good, as well.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who had been on short lists as a potential replacement for President Joe Biden, said Monday morning said he had spoken to Harris and told her the president’s decision “came as a genuine surprise.”
The person, involved in an early morning car accident Monday, was struck at 159th Street, state police said.
Matthew Lewandowski caught a big pike that attacked the little pike he was reeling in last week in Canada that adds to a family tradition of fishing and earns Fish of the Week honors.