Requiem for the Assassin

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In Requiem for the Assassin, El Rey, the world's deadliest assassin, is called into the field to terminate a list of seemingly unrelated targets on behalf of CISEN, the Mexican Intelligence Agency. But things are never as they seem in the murky world of intrigue, and he quickly goes from being the hunter to the prey.

Q&A with Russell Blake

Q: This is the sixth book in the Assassin series?

RB: Depends on how you count them. If you include the prequel, Night of the Assassin, it's #6. If you start at the first book in the series and look at the prequel as sort of 1a, it's #5.

Q: How is this different than the others in the series?

RB: I take a little more time to set the stage, but the main thing is the approach to the story. I wanted to craft something where the reader wasn't sure what the story was really about, to mirror the characters not knowing what's actually going on even as events play out around them. That sense of disequilibrium was key to the concept - the reader discovers how everything is connected and makes sense just as the characters do. It's different than any of the prior books in the sense that we aren't really sure who the bad guys are until the denouement, whereas in the prior books it was pretty obvious up front who was good and who was bad.

Q: Is there much more road for El Rey and Captain Cruz?

RB: I see at least one more episode, maybe two. Depends on how the next one finishes. I do love both characters, so I'm reluctant to write the last book, but I've got no interest in dragging it out and inventing story just to pad a series. My sense is we're nearing the end, but how or when it ends, I'm not sure yet. 
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About the author

 Featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Times, and The Chicago Tribune, Russell Blake is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty books, including Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, Zero Sum, King of Swords, Night of the Assassin, Revenge of the Assassin, Return of the Assassin, Blood of the Assassin, Requiem for the Assassin, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy, The Voynich Cypher, Silver Justice, JET, JET - Ops Files, JET II - Betrayal, JET III - Vengeance, JET IV - Reckoning, JET V - Legacy, JET VI - Justice, JET VII - Sanctuary, Upon A Pale Horse, BLACK, BLACK Is Back, BLACK Is The New Black, and BLACK To Reality.

Non-fiction includes the international bestseller An Angel With Fur (animal biography) and How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated), a parody of all things writing-related.

Blake is co-author of The Eye of Heaven, with legendary author Clive Cussler. Blake's novel King of Swords has been translated into German by Amazon Crossing, The Voynich Cypher into Bulgarian, and his JET novel into Spanish and German.

Blake writes under the moniker R.E. Blake in the NA/YA/Contemporary Romance genres. Novels include Less Than Nothing, More Than Anything, Best Of Everything.

Having resided in Mexico for a dozen years, Blake enjoys his dogs, fishing, boating, tequila and writing, while battling world domination by clowns. His thoughts, such as they are, can be found at his blog:

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Additional Information

Janda Management
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Published on
Sep 1, 2014
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Fiction / Action & Adventure
Fiction / Thrillers / General
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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A German hit man has targeted a world leader for execution. In a high octane race against the clock, an unlikely alliance must track and stop the assassin before he can carry out his unthinkable scheme. The fifth of the bestselling Assassin novels, Blood of the Assassin can be read as a stand-alone novel or as the continuation of the series.


Q&A with bestselling author Russell Blake

Q: How is Blood of the Assassin different than the other Assassin books?

RB: I wrote it so that it could be read by a someone who is new to my work, and unfamiliar with the prior books. In much the same way Da Vinci Code was the second in that series but was a satisfying read on its own, I wanted to try the same thing with Blood - a sequel that someone could start with knowing little or nothing about its predecessors. Having said that, it's also consistent with the prior Assassin novels, so those who have read the series will find that it fits snugly in place.

Q: So would you suggest new readers start here?

RB: Sure. That's the whole idea. I think that this book is a perfect example of my storytelling, pacing, character development, and plotting, and I'm confident that new readers will find it engaging and satisfying.

Q: This volume features a lot more of Captain Cruz than the last ones.

RB: Yes, I wanted him to have a central role, and explore his character more. Just as I wanted to flesh out El Rey in greater detail, and create a more nuanced story. It's also by far the longest of the Assassin books, even after rigorous and ruthless editing.

Q: So El Rey, the Mexican super-assassin, also features prominently.

RB: For the same reason. I wanted to let him grow - give him a broader range. I'm particularly satisfied with how this effort turned out. El Rey fans will find everything they've grown to love or hate about him here, but with an evolving perspective on life. And I thought it would be fascinating to have one super-assassin hunting another. I think it wound up working well. But readers will be the ultimate judges...
Book 2 in the Assassin series, Revenge of the Assassin is the breakneck-paced sequel to the bestselling international thriller King of Swords. When El Rey, the super assassin responsible for Latin America's most spectacular hits, returns to Mexico for one final sanction, the race is on for Captain Romero Cruz of the Federales to stop him before he can fulfill his contract to kill the president. Revenge will delight fans of King of Swords, and offers the same gritty, unpredictable ride of thrills, twists and surprises before arriving at a conclusion that is sure to leave readers gasping.


Question and Answer with Russell Blake

Q: Revenge of the Assassin chronicles another El Rey adventure. Why the fixation with this contract killer?

RB: El Rey is one of those characters you hate, but you are fascinated by. Rather like Hannibal Lector. He's a cold blooded sociopath who kills without remorse, but he's really, really interesting. The more I wrote about him in King of Swords, and then the prequel to that book, Night of the Assassin, the more the character grew on me, and the more I wanted to see him in action. That, and the natural adversarial tension that had developed in King between Captain Cruz and El Rey seemed like it wasn't over yet. Revenge is the answer to the question, "What happens next?"

Q: Your portrayal of cartel violence in Mexico is disturbing. Is it really that bad?

RB: My depiction is accurate, and if anything, is the tame version. Something like 15,000 people died in 2011 alone due to cartel violence. Those kinds of numbers are usually associated with civil wars or armed insurgency. The cartels are de facto governors of some regions of Mexico, and the government, like that of Colombia, simply shrugs its shoulders and won't go into those areas - or if it does, it goes in like the U.S. does in Iraq, cocked and loaded in an invasion mode. That's alarming when it's within its own borders. The situation is out of control in many areas, and is a direct function of the money being made trafficking drugs to the largest market in the world: the U.S. I wish I could see it getting better anytime soon, because I love living here in Mexico, but I'd be lying.

Q: I saw recently that your sales have gone parabolic since 2012 began. What do you attribute that to?

RB: I saw over 100K downloads Jan-March, many of which were King and Night of the Assassin, which continues to see tens of thousands of downloads every month. Also, I released The Voynich Cypher, a Dan Brown style thriller, and it launched with tremendous strength. But oddly, popularity of the titles ebbs and flows, and what was popular in January isn't what was most popular in March, and I can predict that whatever is big in June won't be my top seller in November. It seems like more fans are discovering the whole catalog of thrillers I've released, and word of mouth is building and creating greater visibility. I've been very fortunate so far, and I pray that continues.

Q: What's next for El Rey? Is this it for him?

RB: No. There are more adventures coming. I'm currently working on the next installment, Return of the Assassin, which will be out by summer, 2012. And I expect at least two more in the series by year's end. These are just really interesting characters to me, so I feel compelled to write about them. While my head is in that place, I want to get the stories out, before the muse goes dark or moves to something else.

Q: What books would you advise readers who have never read your work to check out?

RB: If they are into Raiders of the Lost Ark/Da Vinci Code adventure thrillers, The Voynich Cypher. If they like Day of the Jackal, get King of Swords. And if they want something altogether different, I'd say try The Geronimo Breach, Fatal Exchange. Can't go wrong with any of those, and they are all very different approaches to the suspense thriller genre.
Jet III - Vengeance finds Jet settled down, trying to return to a somewhat normal life of stability and safety. But fate has other plans for her when she becomes embroiled in a terrifying terrorism plot involving figures from her past, whose thirst for revenge forces her back into the kill-or-be-killed world she'd hoped to have put behind her forever.


Q&A with Russell Blake

Q: JET has been a remarkably successful series. How many more books do you see with her?

RB: I originally envisioned it as a trilogy, but after finishing JET III, it was obvious to me that there would be at least one to two more. I really like her character, so I'm reluctant to see her story end. That's my long-winded way of saying I'll probably keep writing about her as long as readers want me to.

Q: How is JET III different than the first two books?

RB: I focused more on some of her non-traditional skills, like parkour. Plus I wanted to flesh out her emotional life a little, and give a sense of the person, not just the person involved in the action. I also tried to give her a sense of normalcy in her domestic situation, so she could bond with her loved ones and forge relationships and friendships. And of course, the ending. I wanted to keep readers on the edge of their seats, wanting to know what happens next - which is what JET IV resolves. I could have tied everything up in a neat package at the end of JET III,but it felt a little too pat, and the ultimate story will take at least another volume to conclude in anything approaching a satisfactory manner, for me, at least. And I felt the suspense and uncertainty it ends on creates a sort of intriguing set of questions for readers to speculate about.

Sort of how the Lizbeth Salander books demand reading all of them to discover how the story plays out.

Q: Some might think that the character of Jet is too over-blown, not realistic enough. What say you?

RB: I deliberately went overblown - unapologetically so. I wanted a protagonist the likes of a James Bond or a Lizbeth Salander - and let's face it, those are overblown characters. I think that as long as you're willing to go, "hell yeah she can do that...she's Jet!" you'll enjoy the books. Think Raiders of the Lost Ark - does anyone care if Indiana Jones is overblown? Not me. Goes with the territory. If you're looking for The English Patient, or Sophie's Choice, you'll be disappointed. I've written very realistic, gritty protags - Fatal Exchange's Tess, Geronimo Breach's Al, the Assassin series' Capt Cruz and El Rey, Silver Justice's Silver Cassidy...I didn't want to do a repeat, so I thought I'd go more over-the-top, kick-ass with Jet. I mean, just the name. Jet. Come on. She's got to be a bad-ass with a name like that.

Q: Let's go back to the parkour. Some of the scenes seem to have her defying the laws of physics.

RB: I provide some links at the back of the book to videos of some of the better parkour practitioners. I'd say anyone who thinks I'm exaggerating what these traceurs can do would be well-advised to watch those, in their entirety, and then we can talk.

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