Book Review: Killer Intent, Tony Kent

The story starts in the middle of a political event held between the UK and US to commemorate the long standing alliance between two powerhouse nations. In the midst of the celebrations, a madman erupts from the crowd brandishing a gun, running in the direction of the elite political figures on stage. A sniper in the distance is watching everything unfold and lines up his target and fires with precision, fulfilling his promise to ensure a clear line of sight for the madman. A high ranking security agent nearby tries in vain to stop what is happening under his watch. Meanwhile, a local cameraman and his reporter capture everything in brilliant detail. The madman is eventually captured, but not before killing one political figure and wounding a second. It seems as though the assassination attempt has succeeded – or did it?

The investigation into what happened on that day, and what may happen in the aftermath, is told from the perspective of three key protagonists. Sarah Truman is the reporter who’s cameraman was responsible for capturing the events of the assassination attempt in detail. A hard-nosed and smart, yet inexperienced reporter, Truman is determined to get that exclusive on anything and everything, and finds herself in over her head in conspiracies and cover ups. Joe Dempsey is the high ranking agent for the Department of Domestic Security, who despite his best efforts was unable to eliminate the threat of the gun-wielding madman. He feels personally responsible for the events of the day and is hell-bent on getting revenge on those responsible, by any means necessary. Michael Devlin is a brilliant attorney, who wasn’t directly involved on the day of the assassination attempt, but is thrust into the mix when his work colleague is given the assignment of being the gunman’s defence lawyers. Michael’s world is turned upside down as he is set on a collision course with the perpetrators – whether he likes it or not.

Each character takes their turn in supplying more pieces of the puzzle, both through their investigative work and also in exploring their pasts, which prove to be more significant than we thought. Everything is not as it seems, and it’s never clear who we can trust. Who is telling the truth, and who is feeding the lies?

The way Kent brings together the three main characters is both plausible and satisfying. We’re taken on an incredibly action-packed ride with these characters, as we learn more about them and just exactly how they will play a part in uncovering the mastermind behind the assassination attempt. Each has a personal investment that is emotionally engaging. Dempsey in particular had a fantastic character arc, with plenty of surprises and victories along the way.

You can’t help but picture just how good this book would be adapted to screen, and I was delighted to hear it’s being planned as a TV series, rather than a movie. At the helm will be Duncan Jones, who also directed the fantastic Moon (2009) as well as Source Code (2011). As Kent plans to use the three main characters in subsequent novels, this bodes well for a TV series as we can see the full extent of the character development, rather than having to leave key pieces out like a 90min movie may have to.

Tony Kent is a superb writer. Cinematic, detailed and extremely clever. Killer Intent is a political thriller, action blockbuster and courtroom drama all tied into one. There’s mystery, suspense, action, romance, drama and just a hint of comedy. Early on, I guessed at who the brains behind it all might have been. The writer gives us a few options (such was the brilliance of the narrative), and it’s truly a delight when we find out just exactly who is pulling the strings.

I’d recommend this to all – a great read.

4.3/5

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