Review: 'The Hit' is a winner from David Baldacci

"The Hit" (Grand Central Publishing), by David Baldacci

Will Robie, a government assassin seen in last year's "The Innocent," returns in a bigger and bolder adventure in David Baldacci's new novel, "The Hit." Robie's superiors know he'll obey orders without question, so when one of his colleagues goes rogue, he's given the task of termination.

Jessica Reel was ordered to assassinate a dictator, but she executed someone else. Robie has worked with Reel, so he's considered the perfect candidate to bring her out of hiding and take her out. The more he digs — and the more targets she eliminates — the more Robie questions his orders.

Conspiracy novels aren't new, government traitors aren't original and a killer hired to take out another killer has been used countless times. But Baldacci puts a fresh spin on the cliches, and the end result is the bestBaldacci novel in years. Robie is an assassin with ethics, and the nonstop action and twists help move the story along.

What makes "The Hit" live up to its title is the payoff at the novel's end. By then, Baldacci has planted an emotional hook that remains long after readers have turned the last page of the book.

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