The Fifth Assassin

Brad Meltzer. Grand Central, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-446-55397-1
A grandiose conspiracy linking four previous presidential assassinations threatens current U.S. president Orson Wallace in bestseller Meltzer’s convoluted second entry in his Culper Ring trilogy (after 2011’s The Inner Circle). Archivist Beecher White, a member of the small, secretive group known as the Culper Ring, created by George Washington and charged with protecting the presidency rather than the president, goes into action after someone known as the Knight begins re-enacting previous presidential assassinations with church figures as victims. Several people from Beecher’s past play key roles, including disfigured Marshall Lusk, who may or may not be the assassin, and Clementine Hadrian, who shot and killed Dr. Stewart Palmiotti, the president’s close friend and adviser. Beecher tries desperately to discover the Knight’s identity and thwart him before he reaches his final target. The cumbersome plot, with its frequent flashbacks to Beecher’s childhood, overwhelms Meltzer’s impressive grasp of historical details. 10-city author tour. Agent: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim, Williams & Bloom. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2012
Release date: 01/15/2013
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