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The Hit by David Baldacci

Having read The whole truth and Deliver us from evil, I'm familiar with David Baldacci's work and style, and knows that I won't be disappointed in the plot. Will Robie, an assassin that never fails, gets a new mission from the organisation he's working for. To kill one of their own, Jessica Reel, an agent gone rouge, that has killed several people. Finding and killing Reel, as deadly as himself, will be his most difficult task, yet. But, eventually, he begins to suspect there are something bigger going on.

There's much that is entertaining. Conspiracies are always carefully created by Baldacci, and always interesting. Robie is not a hero, he kills people for a living, which is a complicated life and sometimes makes him question himself. He is a fascinating character, but it's difficult to get to know him. There are too many descriptions of exterior elements, and it would have been great to get some more of the inner struggle, to be able to really feel his thoughts and feelings instead of them being explained.

It is interesting to read a book like this with both a man and a woman main character. Jessica Reel is as strong and fierce a person as any man. That is positive. But, at the same time, when it comes to personality, Reel might be a reflection of the typhical male character. She has the same characteristics, and of course, she has problems with intimacy and trust. For many authors, the only way to create a strong female character seems to be to make her like the stereotype man. But, at the same time, neither Robie nor Reel are typhical main characters, at all. Who knows how to deal with being a killer. A distanced approach to other people and to one self is probably the right way to go.

What's bothersome about this kind of books is the lack of gender equlity. Often the man has the powerful role, and the woman is only a trophy. This book is different. Reel is no one's woman. She is a dangerous person, driven by her own motives. So far so good, but then, something strange happens. Even though Jessica Reel is a professional killer, extremely skilled, never hesitating and feared by the rest of the organisation, she ends up as the plus one. Even though she acts on her own terms, and is driven by revenge and risks her life for it, Will Robie enters and becomes the natural leader. Why? He even admits she might be a better assassin than him. Why does he take control? Reel has been succesfully keeping to her plan, managing to eliminate her high targets on her own, and as soon as Robie turns up, she begins to ask permission and leaves the responsibility to him. It would have been great if she would have continued as before, letting him tagging along. These books, crime novels and thrillers, written by a male author, homehow often end up with the man taking the lead.

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