Execution Is Everything by Nick Warren surprised me with how clever it is with surprising twists that might leave the reader confused until page 144 (the last page). And it is free for purchase on Amazon as of the date of this review. It is free for purchase, NOT through Kindle Unlimited. At the end of the novel, Warren describes how and why he wrote this novel and mentions how he decided to follow up his characters with second and third novels that together have 110 000 additional words. Follow the provided link and get both of those books for free up to July 17, 2017. The link will download all three novels. After reading the first one, this was a deal I did not want to pass up.
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT I get dangerously close to a spoiler here but the temptation was just too much and I believe it is vague and hidden. Readers will have to read the entire novel to figure out what I mean so I don’t consider it a spoiler.
Jon Kaine is a Doctor of Psychology. The novel opens in a bar where Jon didn’t fit in. His clothes were wrong, his accent was wrong, and the bar appeared to be a local membership type in a rundown neighborhood. There were a few male drunks and a couple of them were getting rowdy. Jon was preparing his exit strategies knowing that he was going to be a logical target for drunks who don’t appreciate outsiders. And then the girl walked in, out of place much, much more than Jon. Natalie had made noise coming into the bar with the rolling carry-on (empty) luggage. She knew right away that she had to exit the place; she hoped he could leave with Jon. First a bathroom break. Then we, the readers, leave the bar as the action moves to an airplane.
An airplane flight which encounters a lot of turbulence gives Jon a chance to do some people watching and use his psychologist skills to reflect on the reactions of people to frightening situations. He doesn’t mind sharing his observations with Lillian, a fellow passenger. She seems a bit put off by his arrogance but eventually starts using some of his techniques to put him in his place. This is quite clever to read. How many times do two strangers meet who can quote Seneca to each other?
But Jon Kaine, while that might be his real name, has a few other names. Lillian might not be Lillian. A few other passengers might have alternate identities. And Jon has come to terms with the idea that he is entering the US to commit a crime. Jon is not an intentional criminal, he is not a superhero, and he has no hidden martial arts defense strategies. In some of the developing violence, he could have used some of the latter. He is left only with his knowledge of human psychology and how to push buttons to influence human behavior. How he does this makes this a very interesting novel that will appeal to those who liked the TV series Lie To Me and the character played by Bill Nighy in the BBC spy film Page Eight.