The Assassins Gallery by David L. Robbins

The Assassins Gallery by David L. Robbins: On the back cover of this book, in bold letters, are these words: “What if FDR was assassinated?” Well, la dee da, there’s the entire plot of the book in a nutshell. Which is fine, if you think about it: historical fiction in written with the assumption that your audience knows how it all turns out, at least generally. The trick is to involve characters sympathetic enough that the reader cares what happens to them as individuals. Unfortunately, that does not happen here. The story follows Mikhal Lammeck, a professor who specializes in the history of assassination, as he attempts to uncover a plot to kill the president. That might be somewhat interesting, if a bit cliche, except that Lammeck is also an expert military instructor of – you guessed it – assassins. He spends a lot of time fumbling around, though I find it difficult to believe that after so many years of training killers he’d have so little idea of how to handle tracking one. The assassin herself is marginally more interesting, but still little more than the barest of sketches. I suppose this light treatment was probably intended to make her seem mysterious, but it came off as shallow. I will say that the anecdotes about various assassins through history were quite interesting, but I could have read that in other books without first wading through the tedium of this story.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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