BOOK REVIEW: BEHIND THE HANDS THAT KILL

BEHIND THE HANDS THAT KILL (In the Company of Killers, #6)

Author: J.A. Redmerski
Published on: May 6, 2016
Genre: Suspense, romance, thriller
Published by: Self-published
Format: E-book, paperback, Audible

Even professional killers need vacations, but for Victor Faust, his vacation in Venezuela is about more than relaxation and time alone with Izabel Seyfried. It is a chance for him to come clean to Izabel: to tell her the truth about why he sent her to Italy with his brother, the truth behind his interest in Nora Kessler, and about his knowledge of Izabel’s child with her former captor. But before Victor can spill his soul, reality proves that for some killers, vacations are just pipe-dreams.

Attacked and kidnapped, Izabel finds herself stuffed in a suitcase, while Victor later wakes up imprisoned in a cage. In any other situation, Victor would find a way out and save himself and the woman he loves—but not this time. When the identities of their kidnappers are revealed, Victor loses all hope, and begins the mental process of accepting his and Izabel’s last moments together. And Izabel’s final moments of life.

As if his circumstances are not complicated enough, members of Vonnegut’s Order are finally closing in on Victor. And when they do, he comes face-to-face with someone else he once knew and loved, who could either help him, or make a grave situation much worse. Victor’s past has finally caught up with him: the women he has cared for, loved, and killed; the families he has destroyed; the unforgivable crimes he has committed. And now he must face the consequences, and pay the ultimate price for absolution.

But when it is all over, Victor may not have the strength to pick up what is left and move on. Because the event changes him. Because love changed him. And because, unlike before when he thought it is was for the best, he cannot imagine a life without Izabel in it.

REVIEW

Back in book one, Killing Sarai, I never thought there would be so many sequels. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing; In the Company of Killers has become one of my favorite book series of all time. The way the author writes these stories and develops her characters is marvelous. There are a lot of stories left to tell in this saga, and this time it’s Victor Faust’s turn. Izabel, Fredrik, and Niklas have already had their own books. And Nora too, sort of.

Behind the Hands that Kill opens with a flashback. Victor reminisces about a love interest he had back when he was Izabel’s age. That was a little surprising to discover, considering the life he has led. It was interesting to learn about Victor’s life before he met Izabel. Anyway, Victor’s first love and her family have really odd names, and not because they’re Venezuelan. Victor’s love back then was called Artemis. It’s not as weird as one of her brothers’ names, Osiris. The memory is short, so not much is revealed about these people yet.

In the present day, Victor and Izabel are vacationing in Venezuela. Whether this is a coincidence or not, I won’t say. Izabel questions Victor’s choice of vacation, though. She has her suspicions. Izabel won’t have to wait long for answers, as Victor has decided it’s time to share a few big truths with her. One of them concerns Nora Kessler, the newest recruit to his Order. Before Victor can reveal much, though, he and Izabel are abducted.

Most of the rest of the book presents the ultimate test for Victor’s and Izabel’s love. They’ve managed to last so long, even though Victor isn’t a relationship kind of guy. Contract killers just don’t have personal attachments. Izabel’s humanity and bravery is what made Victor fall for her. They’re about to face hard choices, though. A figure from Victor’s past has come back to take revenge. And to do that, Izabel has to die. Victor knows her death is inevitable as soon as he recognizes their captors.

For someone as cold and calculating as Victor, seeing him reflect on his life choices leaves an impression. During the ordeal, Victor remembers how he and his brother Niklas first entered the contract killer business. Victor soon became Vonnegut’s (his former boss) favorite. He also recalls another love interest, someone who wasn’t Artemis or Izabel. This reveals that Victor’s track record with women is even worse than previously assumed. All Victor sought was to become the best operative, and not even a loved one could be an obstacle. It’s really amazing Victor hasn’t killed Izabel long ago.

As for Izabel, she doesn’t have her hopes crushed when Victor tells her she will die. Izabel isn’t afraid of dying. That was mildly surprising, given that Izabel has no one in the world except Victor and his Order. Izabel is still furious with her captors, though. Her killer instinct is really apparent in this book. Although Izabel is willing to die, she still tries to figure out how to escape. Izabel is not one to go without a fight. When she learns all the truths Victor wanted her to know, Izabel is shocked. Although she can’t forgive Victor, Izabel still loves him. She pledges that will never change. Victor’s done unspeakable things…but Izabel has done some of her own too. What really gets to Izabel is what Victor did to Artemis, and what he will do to her.

Is this really the end for Izabel Seyfried? She’s become a beloved character among fans of In the Company of Killers. If Izabel is killed, fans of the series could be outraged. She’s the one who started it all. Izabel is the most relatable of the main killers in Victor’s Order, because she has more humanity and innocence than them. None of the others had the chance to live a normal life. Izabel refused it, but she still had that chance. Whether Izabel lives or dies, though, I’ll continue reading these books. This is just such an awesome series.

MY RATING

Absolute must-read. It’s amazing!!!

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BUY THE BOOK

Amazon  |  Amazon UK  |  Barnes & Noble

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SPOILER COMMENTS

DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT IF YOU MUST AVOID SPOILERS!

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I have just one thing to add to this review. There are a couple of unlikely things that happen in Behind the Hands that Kill. I think that they’re too much luck. First, Victor seemingly kills Artemis back when they had a romance. He slits her throat but is forced to leave before he’s certain that Artemis died. Victor believes she did die, though.

In the present day, it turns out that Artemis survived. I wouldn’t have batted an eye at this. Not until Izabel also gets her neck slit. That’s an extremely serious wound, and for two people to survive it in the same book is a miracle. I would have “killed” Izabel a different way to avoid it seeming convenient. Having her die the same way Victor’s other love interest did does add an emotional touch. This doesn’t detract from the book at all, though. It just could bring you out of suspension of disbelief.

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