Book Review: The Fifth Assassin – Brad Meltzer

Title: The Fifth Assassin
Author: Brad Meltzer
ISBN: 9780446553971
Pages: 448
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Historical Thriller
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5


When Beecher White, employee of the National Archives, discovers that there’s a murderer on the loose replicating the exact circumstances of presidential assassinations, he feels strongly that he should do something about it. After all, Beecher’s a member of the Culper Ring, a secret spy society that has been around since George Washington’s time whose mission it is to protect the presidency at all costs. But what Beecher doesn’t know is that the truth behind the murders will hit much closer to home than he ever could have predicted.


The Fifth Assassin is the sequel to The Inner Circle, the book that introduced Beecher White and the Culper Ring to the world. Now, Beecher is older and a bit wiser; he’s not quite as quick to trust, though Meltzer drives home the point that his weakness are his childhood friends, people connected to his past. It’s an admirable quality, loyalty, but one that can be frustrating, especially since it was such an issue in the last book. Still, Meltzer has created an interesting and sympathetic character in Beecher, and it’s understandable why he’d want to create a series around him.

The plot of The Fifth Assassin moves at a breakneck pace. This isn’t a book that will take you fifty, or even twenty, pages to become hooked on. No, pretty much from the first page, Meltzer ensures the reader will want to read this book in one sitting. There are some pretty wild twists and turns, but the author keeps the plot moving quickly. The only issue is that, with each plot twist, the book becomes more and more unbelievable. This isn’t a problem if you’re looking for an escapist read to lose yourself in, but if you’re analyzing the plot and judging how realistic it is? Perhaps you’d better choose another novel to read.

If you’re looking for a fun thriller rooted in American history, The Fifth Assassin is a great choice. Meltzer sets up a few overarching mysteries that will carry the reader through to the next book; the mysteries of Beecher’s past are certainly intriguing. Meltzer expanded the scope of the series with this novel; it’s about so much more than Beecher originally thought, and that thought makes for a great premise. This is a great pick for a vacation, though it’s important to read these two books in order or you might find yourself very lost while reading.

Other books by Brad Meltzer:

The Book of Lies
The Inner Circle

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