Claudia Barry is thinking about retirement. She’s had a successful and rather lucrative career, but she’s thinking now about beaches and painting. She’s not married, has no family, and few friends. Her job requires considerable travel.
Complications arise. Barry is involved with retired FBI agent John Hixon, who’s hired by Julian Thibaut, a man Farrell is trying to have killed because he stands in the way of Farrell joining an elite council of corporate chieftains. Everything is building toward a meeting of that group in Atlanta. Both Thibaut and Farrell will be attending – and both may well be targets of assassins.
The Tourist Killer is fast-paced and one wild rollercoaster of a ride – shootings and ambushes on mountain roads alternate with flashbacks of events that have helped shape the main characters and what will happen in Atlanta.
The story centers on Barry. She is a kind of anti-heroine – likeable, sympathetic, and yet coldly calculating about her chosen profession. She’s an expert at disguises and plans each one meticulously. What makes her human – and keeps her from sliding into a killing machine – is her own understanding of how she has to function – carefully compartmentalizing who she is, what she does, and how she thinks. In that sense, she is very much the modernist, segmenting different parts of her life so that she can continue to do what she does.
Etier has written a fascinating suspense novel, using unlikely and potentially off-putting protagonists. Yet he manages to pull off what is ultimately a believable story.