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The Fifth Assassin    by Brad Meltzer order for
Fifth Assassin
by Brad Meltzer
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Like it or not, the conspiracy titles just keep coming. Brad Meltzer's latest novel adds to this proliferating category of fiction and, although it is readable and somewhat entertaining, The Fifth Assassin doesn't do much to enhance the literary standing of the genre.

In this second book in the author's Culper Trilogy (the first was The Inner Circle), Beecher White returns in an adventure that involves presidential assassination. White is an archivist and member of a secret group whose purpose is to protect the presidency. Of course, a group of this nature that dates back centuries needs a fitting nemesis and the Knights of the Golden Circle fulfill that role.

With a person or persons re-creating past presidential assassinations (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and JFK), White and his buddies are wondering if this is just a twisted copycat or a prelude to an attempt on the life of the current resident of the White House.

More to the point, the important question is, perhaps, were the deaths of the former assassination victims related in some way? The answer to this question is as important as finding the person who is re-creating some of the more grisly events from the country's past.

Normally it isn't necessary to read the previous book or books in a trilogy to fully fathom what is happening in the latest release, but that isn't necessarily the case here. It would definitely be helpful if you had first read The Inner Circle before settling down with The Fifth Assassin. That's not to say you absolutely must do so, but you'll probably have fewer questions about what's happening and background issues if you did.

Also, don't expect a tidy and totally clean resolution of the problems this story raises because, as you'll see when you reach the final page, Meltzer still has a few more cards to play!

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