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Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



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The Ethical Assassin: A Novel

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The Ethical Assassin: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9781400064212
ISBN10: 140006421x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"All this is great fun, and if Liss is trespassing on Carl Hiaasen's turf, well, who cares? It's a big state. What's more troubling is the heavy-handed moralizing that Liss dishes out in this otherwise comic thriller....Liss is a vegan, and I'm deeply sympathetic to his cause, but while reading The Ethical Assassin, I was struck by what a shaky soapbox a novel makes." Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World ( read the entire Washington Post Book World review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Edgar award-winning author of the popular historical novels A Conspiracy of Paper and A Spectacle of Corruption, David Liss showcases his amazing versatility with this brilliant new tale of contemporary suspense: a literary thriller set in Florida, where killing is a matter of conscience.

No one is more surprised than Lem Altick when it turns out he's actually good at peddling encyclopedias door to door. He hates the predatory world of sales, but he needs the money to pay for college. Then things go horribly wrong. In a sweltering trailer in rural Florida, a couple whom Lem has spent hours pitching is shot dead before his eyes, and the unassuming young man is suddenly pulled into the dark world of conspiracy and murder. Not just murder: assassination — or so claims the killer, the mysterious and strangely charismatic Melford Kean, who has struck without remorse and with remarkable good cheer. But the self-styled ethical assassin hadn't planned on a witness, and so he makes Lem a deal: Stay quiet and there will be no problems. Go to the police and take the fall.

Before Lem can decide, he is drawn against his will into the realm of the assassin, a post-Marxist intellectual with whom he forms an unlikely (and perhaps unwise) friendship. The ethical assassin could be a charming sociopath, eco-activist, or vigilante for social justice. To unravel the mystery and save himself, Lem must descend deep into a bizarre world he never knew existed, where a group of desperate — and genuinely deranged — schemers have hatched a plan that will very likely keep Lem from leaving town alive.

David Liss skillfully interweaves a gallery of eccentric characters with a multilayered plot characterized by its unpredictable twists and turns. The Ethical Assassin is a brilliant, darkly comic novel that will leave readers in suspense until the very last page.

Review:

"Liss (A Conspiracy of Paper) recycles familiar conventions — drug dealers, missing money, an innocent hero mixed up with bad guys — but salvages his novel from banality with a few quirky touches. In sticky south Florida of August 1985, Lem Altick, a 17-year-old door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, witnesses the murder of two potential customers in a mobile home. Fearing he'll be fingered for the crime — or worse, that he's next — Lem establishes a wary relationship with the likable killer, Melford Kean, who is either a violent psychopath or an animal rights vigilante fighting agribusiness. Lem must also watch out for Jim Doe, the corrupt, redneck police chief who saw Lem at the trailer on the night of the crimes. Lem's paranoia heightens when he learns of Doe's connection to his employers at the encyclopedia sales company, which turns out to be a front. While Lem repeatedly skitters away from danger as he gathers clues that reveal a web of corruption, he finds time to fall for fellow bookseller Chitra and to undergo a political awakening under Melford's tutelage. Liss provides enough entertainment to keep the pages turning, but this hybrid of a thriller and a coming-of-age story doesn't quite succeed as either." (Mar.) Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"David Liss has a nose for history. He can smell it hundreds of years away. His debut, 'A Conspiracy of Paper,' and its sequel, 'A Spectacle of Corruption,' reeked of gritty 18th-century London. 'The Coffee Trader' captured the scent of unwashed whores along with the best part of waking up in 17th-century Amsterdam. Now, for the first time, Liss has written a contemporary novel, 'The Ethical Assassin,'... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[A] murderously funny thriller....Imagine David Lynch's bizarre masterpiece Blue Velvet scripted by Edna Buchanan and Carl Hiaasen. It's a blast." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"The jump from financial chicanery in seventeenth-century London to redneck craziness, South Florida style, seems daunting, but Liss sails across the abyss unscathed." Booklist

Review:

"Readers will enjoy this wild and highly entertaining ride." Library Journal

Review:

"Liss' inventiveness at delivering a totally bizarre and completely believable plot continues to win over the reader....The Ethical Assassin eschews predictability with its edgy, intriguing story." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Review:

"[O]utstanding....The Ethical Assassin is as rewarding and thought provoking as his three previous novels, two set in 18th century London, one in 17th century Amsterdam." Miami Herald

Review:

"Liss will have to back up and try again if he wants to join the top ranks as a contemporary fiction writer....Liss is enormously gifted, enough that he should return to contemporary fiction at some point. Next time, though, some subtlety might work better." San Antonio Express-News

Review:

"Gripping entertainment from the opening pages — a terrific read with the page-turning energy of a first-rate thriller, but also far more than that. David Liss has written a genre-bender with more than its share of white-knuckle suspense, vivid characters, and surprising humor." Joseph Finder, author of Company Man

Review:

"Hypnotic and addictive storytelling." Lee Child, author of One Shot

Review:

"Hilarious, poignant, and laced with paranoia, The Ethical Assassin reads like a Hardy Boys mystery on acid. David Liss pulls out all the stops in this Homeric coming-of-age tale. A vibrant and sweaty page-turner, this book explodes with fresh, memorable characters and a soundtrack I'd like to own." Mark Haskell Smith, author of Moist and Delicious

Synopsis:

From the Edgar Award-winning author of A Conspiracy of Paper comes an engaging and brilliantly constructed thriller set in and around a steamy Florida trailer park during the mid-1980s. In this darkly comic novel, David Liss skillfully interweaves a gallery of eccentric characters with a multilayered plot characterized by its unpredictable twists and turns, leaving readers in suspense until the very last page.

About the Author

David Liss is the author of A Spectacle of Corruption, The Coffee Trader, and A Conspiracy of Paper, winner of the 2000 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. He lives in San Antonio with his wife and daughter, and can be reached via his website at www.davidliss.com.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

mfrasier31, August 28, 2006 (view all comments by mfrasier31)
I found myself chuckling while I read this book, and I didn't expect that in a story about an assassin. Moreover, I found a kindred spirit in the philosophical rants of the assassin Melford Kean. While his thoughts regarding vegetarianism are well-traveled and rather worn for the wear, his musings on the power of ideology rang true with me. The ending was a bit sentimental and not especially surpising, but overall the novel was a enjoyable read.
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(4 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400064212
Author:
Liss, David
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Marketing
Subject:
Encyclopedias and dictionaries
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Suspense
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Publication Date:
February 28, 2006
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
327
Dimensions:
9.52x6.38x1.11 in. 1.24 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

The Ethical Assassin: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 327 pages Ballantine Books - English 9781400064212 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Liss (A Conspiracy of Paper) recycles familiar conventions — drug dealers, missing money, an innocent hero mixed up with bad guys — but salvages his novel from banality with a few quirky touches. In sticky south Florida of August 1985, Lem Altick, a 17-year-old door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, witnesses the murder of two potential customers in a mobile home. Fearing he'll be fingered for the crime — or worse, that he's next — Lem establishes a wary relationship with the likable killer, Melford Kean, who is either a violent psychopath or an animal rights vigilante fighting agribusiness. Lem must also watch out for Jim Doe, the corrupt, redneck police chief who saw Lem at the trailer on the night of the crimes. Lem's paranoia heightens when he learns of Doe's connection to his employers at the encyclopedia sales company, which turns out to be a front. While Lem repeatedly skitters away from danger as he gathers clues that reveal a web of corruption, he finds time to fall for fellow bookseller Chitra and to undergo a political awakening under Melford's tutelage. Liss provides enough entertainment to keep the pages turning, but this hybrid of a thriller and a coming-of-age story doesn't quite succeed as either." (Mar.) Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "All this is great fun, and if Liss is trespassing on Carl Hiaasen's turf, well, who cares? It's a big state. What's more troubling is the heavy-handed moralizing that Liss dishes out in this otherwise comic thriller....Liss is a vegan, and I'm deeply sympathetic to his cause, but while reading The Ethical Assassin, I was struck by what a shaky soapbox a novel makes." ( read the entire Washington Post Book World review)
"Review" by , "[A] murderously funny thriller....Imagine David Lynch's bizarre masterpiece Blue Velvet scripted by Edna Buchanan and Carl Hiaasen. It's a blast."
"Review" by , "The jump from financial chicanery in seventeenth-century London to redneck craziness, South Florida style, seems daunting, but Liss sails across the abyss unscathed."
"Review" by , "Readers will enjoy this wild and highly entertaining ride."
"Review" by , "Liss' inventiveness at delivering a totally bizarre and completely believable plot continues to win over the reader....The Ethical Assassin eschews predictability with its edgy, intriguing story."
"Review" by , "[O]utstanding....The Ethical Assassin is as rewarding and thought provoking as his three previous novels, two set in 18th century London, one in 17th century Amsterdam."
"Review" by , "Liss will have to back up and try again if he wants to join the top ranks as a contemporary fiction writer....Liss is enormously gifted, enough that he should return to contemporary fiction at some point. Next time, though, some subtlety might work better."
"Review" by , "Gripping entertainment from the opening pages — a terrific read with the page-turning energy of a first-rate thriller, but also far more than that. David Liss has written a genre-bender with more than its share of white-knuckle suspense, vivid characters, and surprising humor."
"Review" by , "Hypnotic and addictive storytelling."
"Review" by , "Hilarious, poignant, and laced with paranoia, The Ethical Assassin reads like a Hardy Boys mystery on acid. David Liss pulls out all the stops in this Homeric coming-of-age tale. A vibrant and sweaty page-turner, this book explodes with fresh, memorable characters and a soundtrack I'd like to own."
"Synopsis" by , From the Edgar Award-winning author of A Conspiracy of Paper comes an engaging and brilliantly constructed thriller set in and around a steamy Florida trailer park during the mid-1980s. In this darkly comic novel, David Liss skillfully interweaves a gallery of eccentric characters with a multilayered plot characterized by its unpredictable twists and turns, leaving readers in suspense until the very last page.
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