ISBN :- 9780552170154
Ever since Frederick Forsyth wrote “The Day of the Jackal” and rose to fame, he has been able to create a distinct fan following of the category who loves to read about espionage, geopolitical thrillers, terrorism, and you get the drift.
His stories have evolved from the Second World War to cold war (ICON) to global terrorism. The Kill list is the newest from his stable – published in 2013 by Random House Publications.
In the quintessential Forsyth style, the novel opens into the workings of a secret group hidden within the Pentagon- known as the Technical Operations Support Activity, or TOSA. The group’s raison d’etre is to track, hunt and kill. “The Kill List’ itself comprises of names that pose extremely high threat to the USA and its people. These are the people who need to be taken down, no matter what the cost, no matter the consequences.
This “Kill List” is approved by the President of USA – upon which the group’s operators move in for the kill, leaving no trace of their activities.
Forsyth takes us through the life and death of Osama Bin Laden and how the USA tracked him down in Abbott bad, Pakistan, just like he did in “The Afghan”.
The protagonist of the story is a character known as “The Tracker” who is a US Marine Lieutenant Colonel and has a personal agenda of his own. It is revealed in the end that his Father was killed by one of ” The Preacher’s” assasins.
As the story begins, “The Tracker” is given a new target. His prey is known to everyone as “The Preacher”.
“The Preacher” is a fiery orator whose internet sermons have started to create unpleasant waves in both USA and UK in the form of murders of government/semi-government authorities. Initially, the murders seem completely random, until a pattern starts to emerge. In each case, the killer seems to have gone through a transformation shortly before the murders. They became aloof, religious and silent. On each killer’s computer the police find links to religious sermons, where an unknown man with his face covered, asked them to sacrifice their life for the cause. The sermons start simply and gradually brainwash the follower, until he/she is asked to commit the supreme sacrifice, kill a prominent member of the western society around them and be admitted to the heavens.
Unfortunately, there is no information available on the man delivering the sermons. When the death toll becomes very high to ignore, TOSA is given the task to find him and eliminate him. To start with, “The Tracker” recruits a teenaged hacker also a socially incapable teenager, whose entire world revolves around computers. Through his wormhole, an attic bedroom in some corner of the USA, the hacker manages to track the computer which is used to upload the sermons. He also finds out the organization who is financing “ The preacher” a Pakistani spice merchant based in London.
Somewhere in Africa, is the new arm of Osama Bin Laden’s followers who want to continue the legacy of terrorism. This wild, uncivilised part of Africa is not even infiltrated by special agents and spies from any leading western countries. But, as usual, there is only one agency that operates there, which is the Israeli MOSSAD. TOSA requests Mosad and they agree to pool resources to hunt down “The Preacher”.
Step-by-step, “The Tracker” builds up an image of “The Preacher”. He is finally able to establish his identity- a young, volatile boy in Pakistan who was part of Lasker-e-Taiba and then later left it to pursue higher goals The Tracker also finds out that “The Preacher” is extraordinarily slippery and elusive. He has managed to survive so far, because he doesn’t stay at one place or trust any one long enough. Although he knows who uploads the sermons and from where, The Tracker has no way of knowing when the Preacher will actually be there.
On a sidetrack, Nigerian pirates capture a merchant ship with very precious cargo without realising what they have got in their hands. But, this seemingly unconnected lead gives “The Tracker” his window of opportunity. And although not official nor authorised, he goes ahead at last to find the man and kill him with his own hands.
The Kill List makes for easy and fast paced reading with Forsysms (tiny little tidbits of information thrown in, here and there) dotting the book.
Final Verdict : 4/5 and definitely a one time read.