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Hour of the Assassin by Matthew Quirk
Legal thriller

Hour of the Assassin

Early Release

This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait to read it.

by Matthew Quirk

Excellent choice

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Quick take

Conspiracy theorists, rejoice! A former CIA member, framed for murder, unearths some shocking government secrets.

Good to know

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As a Secret Service agent, Nick Averose spent a decade protecting the most powerful men and women in America and developed a unique gift: the ability to think like an assassin. Now, he uses that skill in a little-known but crucial job. As a “red teamer,” he poses as a threat, testing the security around our highest officials to find vulnerabilities—before our enemies can. He is a mock killer, capable of slipping past even the best defenses.

His latest assignment is to assess the security surrounding the former CIA director at his DC area home. When Nick enters the man’s study, the home’s inner sanctum, he finds the man alone and unconscious. Someone else has been here—someone who attacked the chief and left him for dead, just moments before. Desperately attempting to save the man’s life, he contaminates the crime scene. Now, investigators believe Nick is somehow involved.

Nick knows he’s the perfect scapegoat. But who is framing him, and why? To clear his name, he must find the truth—a search that leads to a nefarious conspiracy whose roots stretch back decades. The prize is the most powerful position in the world: the Oval Office.

To save himself and the people he loves, Nick must stop the men who rule Washington before they bury him along with their secrets.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Hour of the Assassin.
Hour of the Assassin


Assassination is a tense, sweaty business. So Nick Averose found it odd, as he sat inside this bush for the fifty-third minute, how cozy his spot had become. Berry and pine scented the air, and the little enclosure reminded him of childhood games. He could almost forget the Smith & Wesson hanging on his hip and the knife sheath in a horizontal draw on his belt.

The air shook with the sound of a heavy V-8. Nick pressed his back against the brick wall at the base of the fence. The six-bedroom mansion was all stone with slate roofs, fit for an Ivy League campus, though its perimeter was more appropriate for a military installation. It seemed unbreachable without raising the alarm.

But every defense had its weakness. Nothing was perfect. No one was safe. Nick had to believe that, to prove it tonight and every night.

As the black Chevy Suburban pulled up the driveway, Nick stole toward it. The faint blue glow of a cell phone lit the interior and the face of his target, Malcolm Widener, the former director of the CIA. The job was simple enough: kill him with no trace.

Once Widener had commanded an army of spies and paramilitaries, and a round-the-clock detail from the agency’s Security Protective Service had lived on this property. Now he worked for a global hedge fund, trading on what and who he knew. His company provided him with the best guards money could buy.

There were a few ways to get through that fence, but the easiest was the most obvious and the most dangerous: the front driveway. All Nick needed was a stalking horse and some way to open the wrought iron gate. Widener’s own vehicle would do both.

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Why I love it

I don’t know if you noticed… but we feature a lot of thrillers around here. It’s a popular genre—in our office and with readers in general—and we feature at least one every month. In other words, you could be a BOTM member going back for years and have ordered nothing from us but books about murder, secrets, and lies.

That said, we generally stick to thrillers of the endangered wife/missing girl/runaway woman variety. We still love those, but this month we’re switching it up in favor of something less personal and more political. Check out this premise: a shadowy deep state organization frames former Secret Service agent Nick Averose for the killing of a state official, prompting a chase across Washington, D.C. To prove his innocence, Nick—with the help of his genius sidekick, Delia—must uncover a sinister plot perpetrated by a bunch of villainous politicians seeking to control the government.

This is the kind of book you read in one sitting because the stakes contained therein feel really high. With an injection of espionage and politics, it’s fast and addictive—and still manages to be full of murder, secrets, and lies!

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Member ratings (6,792)

  • Meghan R.

    Vicksburg, MI

    I love thrillers and the synopsis sounded so good! I quickly devoured it, and stayed up late, just to finish it!! I loved the characters and how everything played out. The short chapters made it a quickread

  • Reagan G.

    Rogers, AR

    This is exactly the kind of book I love! Every page had some new detail or tiwst that really kept me hooked. The author’s vocabulary really allowed me to understand Nick’s feelings and actions! ????????

  • Alex M.

    Blue Springs, MO

    An AMAZING thriller! I took a chance on this book and I’m so glad I did! It had political conspiracy, betrayal, action, and twists at every turn! I couldn’t put it down! Fast read, highly recommend!

  • Regan G.

    Strattanville , PA

    This book had me on the edge of my seat and wishing I could read faster to see what happened next! There wasn’t a slow moment where I thought I could put it down for the night and not wonder about it.

  • Meredith D.

    Leonia, NJ

    The beginning pulled you in. I felt like the author did a great job keeping it realistic throughout. He was very thorough describing the main character’s way of covering his tracks and thought process

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