Top positive review
Slow to start, but builds well once it kicks in
on 10 December 2014
The beginning of this book has problems. They are mainly borne of the author's world building, in which he likes to repeat himself two or three times in case the reader missed something. This includes the sniper's procedure (the first time showed me military precision, the second almost identical description of a kill added nothing), explaining initialisms 2 or 3 times (though in fairness he throws so many unnecessary ones in, that might actually be necessary), and the slow pace that it dawns on supposedly experienced police, FBI and NSA officers that their bosses are using the killings as political capital to improve their lot rather than truly sharing information. These guys have so many years in their respective jobs, they should have peeled off and formed a renegade investigation cell far earlier than they did.
Once you get past the first 20% though, it rattles away nicely and tension actually starts to build as we follow the investigators trying to track down a lone-wolf sniper who is out to kill billionaires. Certain aspects of the middle of the book are done really well. The author's decision to not allow the sniper to get overly political (other than postcards stating 'I Kill Rich People' when there appears to be doubt as to whether the killings are racially motivated) is a good one. It adds to the mystery of the man and allows the reader to insert their own theories as to why he is doing what he is doing. I also liked the talk radio DJ, it makes a change to have a left-leaning shock jock in these kinds of things and allows the introduction of possible political motives through a third party. I also felt that the methods used by the rich establishment to try to silence him were very realistic.
On the downside, I don't buy that the sniper would be tempted by the investigators' plan to bring him down near the end. This is not a serial killer getting slowly more unhinged as we established in painful detail in the first few chapters, this guy is a killing machine. He would not risk trapping himself in a stadium, an empty stadium no less, where it is so easy to have his escape routes controlled, having always previously ensured he was out in the open with multiple options. I cannot imagine why, to a man, they all think the plan is so perfect.
The end has a nice twist though, and I look forward to reading the second book in the series. My main nagging doubt being that with books such as this I'm firmly cheering on the sniper, yet realistically I know it's never going to ultimately end well for him.