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4.3 out of 5 stars66
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 13 September 2013
This is the first in a line of books about a new hero, not an out and out "do gooder" but an assassin who kills folk for money. I've no problem with that if they deserve to be killed. If you like the Spider Sheperd or Jack Reacher series of books then you'll love this. Highly recommended, now I'm off to read the other Sam Carver adventures!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 December 2007
The Accident Man is a mediocre thriller with an interesting premise: Samuel Carver is a freelance assassin who is hired to arrange a car accident in Paris in August 1997. (Because Carver is the hero of this book, Cain has made him an "assassin with principles" who only kills morally dubious targets like terrorists or pedophiles.) Unfortunately for Carver, he has been lied to in this instance and he finds out - too late - that his target was actually the Princess of Wales. Moreover, now that the job is done, someone is trying to kill him. His one ally is Alix, a glamorous Russian who is also on the run - but who may or may not be on his side.

The thing I liked most about this book is the grounding in an actual death (albeit one that I do not believe was an assassination). This gives it some sense of reality, something that is so often lacking in thrillers. The integration of Carver's fictional exploits with what we know about Diana's death is skillfully done. In fact, the first half of the book is great - it rips along at a cracking pace as Carver and Alix try to stay one step ahead of their pursuers.

But Tom Cain is unable to sustain the momentum and the action slows right down in the second half. The love story between Carver and Alix is formulaic and doesn't ring true. New characters are introduced seemingly for no reason other than to be killed off in the next chapter. And Carver - supposedly a hotshot hitman at the top of his game - makes a series of rash and/or poorly thought-through decisions that made me feel like hurling the book across the room in disgust.

The book ends in quite an unusual way for a thriller of this sort. Full credit to Cain for trying to write something a bit different, although I'm not sure it works. If you are after something lightweight and you're happy to disengage your brain, this is an okay choice. But keep your expectations low. I'd rate this on a par with the latter day Robert Ludlum novels (ie the ones that Ludlum didn't actually write).
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Carver is the guy who makes `accidents' happen to bad people. This allows us to like him because although he is an assassin, he only kills people who deserve it.
In an interesting development, the author cleverly links in the death of Princess Diana and has Carver set up as the instigator of her `accident' who then goes on the run as he realises what he has been tricked into doing and tries to keep alive as the bad guys attempt to silence him.

This reminded me of Robert Ludlum's Bourne books - tradecraft, being on the run, not knowing who to trust etc etc and for most of the book I was really enjoying this. The Princess Di thing was clever and it was certainly fast paced. Having said that it dropped off in the second half and it felt like the author was not quite sure where to go, Carver starts a relationship far too easily with the Russian Alix and starts to get a little sloppy, Jason Bourne would never let a woman distract him! Having said that, it ended in a way I found unusual so that was refreshing.
So overall a three star but could easily have gone up to four with a little less of the doe-eyed lovey stuff. Having said that, I have found it interesting enough to buy the follow up.
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on 11 October 2014
I expected to get blown away by this debut novel by Tom Cain - especially having read all the plaudits attributed to The Accident Man. However, I was left disappointed by this so called 'audacious and timely thriller' (Daily Mail).
In its favour, it is an easy read and the suggestion that there was more to the death of Princess Diana makes for a fairly interesting story. But, for me, there was very little meat on the bones of this tale. The characters lacked depth and the dialogue was rather ropey in places. Much as I tried, I just could not relate to ex-marine Samuel Carver and could not get emotionally caught up in the situations he experienced. An unlikely romance was thrown in for good measure but this still did little to lift the story.
To sum up, I plodded on through all 552 pages of The Accident Man but was left somewhat unfulfilled by a book that initially showed such promise. I can therefore only bring myself to award 3 stars for this one.
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on 8 June 2014
Put simply, if you're a reader of crime/military/action/espionage/any sort of fiction then you need this book in your collection.

The subject matter lent this debut novel from Tom Cain extra heaviness but the story and main character of Sam Carver put this book firmly in the classic territory. It's got everything you would want from a novel of this genre.

Multiple locations / cat and mouse / baddies / conspiracy / involvement of real world agencies / a central character who isn't just a superman but a human being.

You don't have to sign up to be a believer in some new 'Reacher clone' action hero franchise, just get this book.
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on 25 February 2008
This book is a great thriller. Highly readable a great mix of fiction and fact. Cain is brilliant at developing believable main characters. Carver is somewhere between Bourne and Bond. Good choice of conspiracy as there are a number of fishy elements which the author has
used well, without getting embroiled in drunken drivers or royals etc. This should have been promoted more. I stumbled across it in Sainsburys by accident. Is there a conspiracy to prevent sales? Comparisons with Forsyth
are justified although this was faster moving than 'The Afghan' but probably not as well researched. I wish I had written this book.
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on 10 April 2012
I have long been a fan of the crime action thriller genre and I love the way Cain re-wrote real events to suit his own purpose. OK so he doesn't actually name Diana, but we all know it was her.

Not only does he spin his own theory as to who was behind her death (it is the most plausible i've heard) he also addresses other populist conspiracy theories.

He does all this in a taut tense novel without ever letting the action slow. You shouldn't like an assassin this much but you cannot help cheering Sam Carver on as he investigates the mysterious people who hired him for this hit.
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VINE VOICEon 25 February 2011
Samuel Carver is well and truly set up for a good few more books if 'The Accident Man' is anything to go by.

Mentioning 'set up', of course, leads me straight into the book's storyline where Carver - a sort of (un)authorised assassin has been tricked into causing the death of Princess Diana, believing the main occupant of the Mercedes to be a fanatical terrorist. This factional account works very well and I'm led to believe this format may well happen again in later books. Given that the author is a journalist, I suppose that's not to be undervalued as a theme for current thrillers.

Given Carver's hardline approach to everything, his quickfire involvement with a Russian female operative is rather surprising and, for me, rather spoils the image I was building up in my mind. Of course, we might assume where this will lead but the ending rather puts a dampener on all that.

The story is action packed. We move around Europe with ease as Carver battles it out with Russian thugs, French Security and various members of Britain's MI6 and associated offices. Most of the book is excellent, some is not quite so gripping; Carver seems to go into a backwater for a while, as he falls for the girl. Ah well, nothing changes, I suppose.

I'm certainly keen to read 'The Survivor', the follow-on though I was searching for 'The House of War' as advertised in the back of my copy. Don't believe all you read in a book, it seems - the title has obviously changed. Anyway, I have the next book on my reading shelf and am currently searching for a copy of his third novel, so I must be keen on something to do with Carver.
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on 26 August 2013
Really enjoyed Tom Cain's book - have bought the next instalment which is also great

If you like Vince Flynn / Lee Child books I think you will like this one
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on 5 July 2013
I'm glad to have found this (new to me) author. Well written and interesting. Having just written a review about a dire first thriller from a different author, I feel obliged to write one to encourage authors such as Tom Cain to keep writing. The scene setting is good, the main character interesting, and the plot entertaining. My favourite thriller writers are Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Barry Eisler and Vince Flynn and I'll keep reading Tom Cain.
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