The Assassins’ Gallery
It’s January 1, 1945. World War II is winding down, as the Allies have the upper hand. On a frigid, deserted beach in Massachusetts, a highly trained assassin comes ashore and begins a long and convoluted mission to kill the most powerful man in the world, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Only two men are convinced the assassin exists at all: Special Agent “Dag” Nabbit of the Secret Service and Professor Mikhal Lammeck, a historian who also trains Special Forces soldiers. But proving the existence of the assassin to a skeptical Secret Service boss is almost as difficult as tracking down the elusive killer.
Robbins is the master at bringing the reader into the minds of soldiers locked in combat. He makes you feel the fear, the anger, and the exhaustion. Better than anyone else, he gives his readers a real sense of being there with all the sights and sounds and smells. And maybe because there is no combat here, this is why he narrowly misses the mark with this story. The character development is impressive as always, but the tension never really develops, and the ending becomes apparent fairly early on, or so it appears. I found myself reading to the end just to see how he’d write the story, and for that I was rewarded with an eye-opening plot twist. Still, this story didn’t grab me and shake me up like his earlier work.