Tom Wood is back with another fast-paced thriller featuring assassin-for-hire Victor, and the good news for anyone who has read the previous book, The Hunter, is that it has the same qualities of taut, vivid, descriptive writing combined with tense explosive action, espionage and conspiracy in colourful Asian and European settings. If you haven't read the first novel however, it won't matter either, because we're more or less back to scratch at the start of The Enemy. That comes at the cost of there not being any real character development - you'll get to the end of this book also and still not know much about Victor's personality other than his abilities as an amoral assassin - but the compensating factors of the novel being an extremely well-written conspiracy thriller more than make up for that.
If there's one thing you will quickly find out about Victor however, it's that as an international assassin-for-hire of the highest reputation, he may be an unquestioning tool to be used by higher powers to further their own agendas, but he's nobody's fool. He knows that in this business you need to look after your own back, and you don't take unnecessary risks. Victor has however reluctantly had to put aside the security of his lone-wolf status in order to fulfill an obligation that sees him working under contract to the CIA. Unofficially, of course. Victor asks no questions, but it soon becomes obvious that there is a pattern to the hits he is being asked to carry out - all of them involving major criminal international arms dealers - at very short notice and in highly risky circumstances that he would never normally accept. Victor however has proved himself capable of looking after himself in the past, and that proves to be the case here, when things inevitably don't go exactly according to plan.
There's a direct simplicity in the titles of the Victor books that reflects the single-minded approach of the writing, but there's also a certain amount of ambiguity in them that is characteristic of the subject and the more complex motives at play. In The Hunter, it wasn't always clear who was hunted and who was the hunter, and it's the same with The Enemy. In this line of business, it's not always possible to tell your friends from your enemies, and allegiances can be easily bought. If it's difficult to gain a grasp of Victor as anything more than a highly intelligent, amoral killing machine, he's a perfect reflection of qualities needed to survive in the world he operates in. Whether you want to look for anything deeper in the work, or whether it's even there, Tom Wood depicts this world of covert foreign policy activity and international conspiracy with meticulous detail, and he plots it with thrilling pace and conviction. Placed alongside the ever capable and intriguing Victor, the reader gains a great view of it all, and is undoubtedly in safe hands.