Michael Weston is paid well to do his work and ask no questions. When you’re a professional assassin, total secrecy is part of the job. But after a successful mission in London, the police are immediately on his tail. How did they know how to find him? And who is his anonymous employer? Why did he or she want his target, a TV reporter, killed? Was he set up from the start?
The questions lead Weston to his nemesis Hoffer, a private detective who has been hunting him for years. Ever since Weston accidentally killed an innocent American girl, her grieving father has employed Hoffer on a relentless mission to bring Weston to justice. Could Hoffer finally have set a snare that worked?
Weston sets out to find his mysterious employer, traveling from London to Glasgow to Seattle-even if it means encountering Hoffer face-to-face at last. With the brilliant eye for character and taut pacing that have made him an internationally renowned bestseller, Ian Rankin delivers a gripping story that examines what happens when the assassin becomes the target, and proves yet again that “in Rankin, you cannot go wrong” (Boston Globe).
Review From Publishers Weekly
First published in the U.K. in 1994 under the pseudonym Jack Harvey, this routine thriller from Edgar-winner Rankin tells the story of Michael Weston, a fastidious British assassin whose life gets complicated when Hoffer, an American PI, starts to close in on him. The novel opens with Weston’s carefully choreographed hit on London TV journalist Eleanor Ricks, but Hoffer is chasing Weston for another assassination, in which the antihero mistakenly shot a young girl. The plot takes a convoluted journey to the United States, to a weapons dealer in Texas and on to a quasireligious cult near Seattle. The nonstop action, copious violence and arcane details about weaponry and forensics will please thriller junkies, but fans of Rankin’s masterful John Rebus series (Fleshmarket Alley, etc.) may not find this pre-Rebus book to their taste. (Nov.)
Review From Booklist
Like Witch Hunt (2004) and Blood Hunt (2006), the latest Rankin is not an installment of his stellar Inspector Rebus series but a first U.S. edition of a stand-alone originally published in the U.K. under the name Jack Harvey (in this case, in 1994). The hero here is Michael Weston, a highly paid assassin whose specialty is the long-distance shot, always through the heart. He’s dubbed the “Demolition Man” because he always sets off a diversionary explosion nearby. At the book’s start, he makes a kill but barely escapes the police: he has been set up. But by whom? First he needs to find out who hired him. His journey takes him north to Yorkshire, then to the U.S. He’s accompanied by love-interest Bel, daughter of his armorer, and dogged by Leo Hoffer, a publicity-hungry PI intent on bagging the “D-Man”–and there’s a mysterious U.S. government agent, too. Though this is more standard thriller fare than the Rebus series, it’s smart and inventive. Weston’s a hemophiliac, for example, and he is no action hero–he is decidedly uncomfortable with death. And a nice twist at the end adds a surprising piece of political relevance. Bleeding Hearts loses a bit of its sparkle once the stalking is over and the fighting starts, but it’s still plenty good. Keir Graff