Fiction - Thriller - General
94 Pages
Reviewed on 04/14/2013
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Jarret, "Shadow Game"'s hero, is the consummate hit-man. When we first see him, he is getting up from a straight-backed chair in a small hotel in Paris and putting on latex gloves before drinking water from a glass. The glass and gloves are safely stowed away in a trash can as he travels to his current hit. On the way back from a successful and surgically precise assassination, Jarret falls, sharply striking his head on the hard concrete of the subway stairs, and everything changes. Besides leaving him with a sore and swollen lump on his head, the fall seems to have affected his brain -- he now sees colors emanating from people's heads. He decides to retire, but Helen, his contact, persuades him to take on just one more assignment. She overrides his reluctance by telling him her own life would be endangered if he did not come through. This job takes him to Jakarta, where his target is a political candidate standing up against a ruthless, military dictator.

Darryl Sollerh's thriller is easily one of the better books I have read this year. Jarret is a complex and multi-dimensional hero whose limited world of personal interactions with Helen, his handler, expands as he prepares to take on the final assignment. While much of the action is centered on the political demonstrations, the police brutality rocking the city and the abject poverty of the city's residents, there is a lyrical beauty in the tale as Jarret discovers himself and his soul. I loved this book and will, most likely, read it again in the near future.

Lee Ashford

“Shadow Game” by Darryl Sollerh is a powerful example of what may happen to a professional assassin when his conscience begins to take over. Jarrett has a very lucrative career assassinating people that his contact, Helen, assigns him to kill. But he has had just about enough of the business, and he has saved enough money to live comfortably for the remainder of his life. He determines to tell Helen that he is through when he returns from his current assignment. Helen has other plans, however, and convinces him he must do one last job for her, or she will be in serious trouble with her clients. When he tries telling Helen he won’t do the job, she threatens the lives of two people with whom Jarrett has formed a close relationship. Some very complicated issues come to light, as Jarrett realizes he is in too deep to back out now.

Darryl Sollerh has created a realistic character in his assassin, Jarrett, as well as giving Jarrett a credible “change of heart” about his assignment and his life’s work. Various small things, inconsequential of themselves, begin to add up to suggest a set-up where Jarrett himself may be the intended target. Sollerh has done a meticulously convincing job of developing a complex set of variables which limit Jarrett’s options significantly. The final two chapters of this story could not be any more true-to-life than they are, as far as probable outcomes are concerned. There is an element of “happily ever after”, but not for everybody. “Shadow Games” is not a lengthy story, but it is a very good story. I most strongly recommend it for fans of excitement and suspense.