Series: The Unknown Assassin # 1
Published by Little Brown & Company on June 11, 2013
They needed the perfect assassin.
Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school in a new town under a new name, makes a few friends, and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die-of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target.
But when he's assigned to the mayor of New York City, things change. The daughter is unlike anyone he has encountered before; the mayor reminds him of his father. And when memories and questions surface, his handlers at The Program are watching. Because somewhere deep inside, Boy Nobody is somebody: the kid he once was; the teen who wants normal things, like a real home and parents; a young man who wants out. And who just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's mission.
In this action-packed series debut, author Allen Zadoff pens a page-turning thriller that is as thought-provoking as it is gripping, introducing an utterly original and unforgettable antihero.
Boy Nobody’s life as an assassin-in-training began when his parents were killed and he was kidnapped into the custody of The Program. He was groomed to kill by Mother and Father, the dangerous heads of The Program who are quite lacking in any actual parental traits. But they know how to kill, and they teach the boy all of the tricks of the trade. There are fascinating descriptions of the secretive communication techniques used by the boy and The Program. He’s also trained in “tells” of the marks he’s targeting – the little non-verbal cues we all unconsciously use when we communicate. A certain look in the eyes. A tilt of the head. A slight change in voice inflection. I have a little fantasy of being an expert poker player with an awesome ability to suss out tells. Only problem? I don’t know how to play poker.
Boy Nobody has a different identity with every new assignment. His age works to his advantage, because who would suspect a teenager of being an assassin? The assignment that makes up the majority of the story is the planned murder of the mayor of New York City, for reasons unknown. The boy is given the name, Ben, and he’s instructed to get close to the mayor’s daughter, Sam. This was where I worried I Am the Weapon would get predictable. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything to tell you that Ben becomes attracted to Sam, and he begins to have reservations about killing her father. But everything else I predicted after that was completely wrong. I loved the direction Alan Zadoff took with the story and how he kept Ben realistic. (Well, as realistic as any teenage assassin can be.) The ending was fantastic with a couple of major shockers and one moment, in particular, where I was thrilled Zadoff took the most unexpected route, and we readers are the big beneficiaries.
Review posted at Goodreads.