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The Executioner's Game.

The Executioner's Game by Gary Hardwick William Morrow, January 2005 $24.95, ISBN 0-060-57584-0

The surprise murder attack of Donald Howard, United States Secretary of Commerce, in the AIDS--ravaged, war-wrecked heart of the African jungle (Congo) sets the cold-blooded tone of Hardwick's latest novel. By the time The Executioner's Game reaches its upbeat, pensive conclusion in the Oval Office of the White House, the reader will have gone on a riveting literary run through the brassy underworlds of urban crime and covert government operations.

The book's protagonist, Luther Green, is an icy cosmopolite with strong connections to his family and the inner-city neighborhood of his adolescence. Drawing on his sharpened paramilitary instincts, his artistic view of the world and his calculating street smarts, he is one of the county's finest CIA agents. Despite all of his guts, nothing prepares him for the mission he's assigned in this story: the elimination of Alex Deavers, his mentor from the agency. On this premise, the story takes wild turns but manages to maintain a steady beat of enjoyable action.

Far from being a shoot-'em-up, The Executioner's Game reaches into the psychological and emotional life of the hero, giving insight into the double-timing, dangerous and distrusting world of undercover work. In this book, the reader will gain new appreciation for the easy freedoms we take for granted because of the work of people like this.

Hardwick, a successful screenwriter and producer of the films The Brothers and Deliver Us From Eva, brings us a well-developed, well-paced story. It progresses easily, and his vivid filmmaker imagination electrifies the plot as a Hollywood summer blockbuster might.

Don't go looking for incredible literary depth or clues into what it means to be black in the white-dominated world of covert government operations. It's an adrenaline rush pushed along by a clever plot--a fast read with an urban sensibility, an action thriller with a firm hook in reality.

Tanu T. Henry is a programming manager at AOL Black Voices.
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Author:Henry, Tanu T.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2005
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