Read The Gentle Assassin by Ryan David Jahn Online


It wasn't every day you had the chance to track down the man who'd killed your mother.In 1964, Andrew Combs' mother is killed in front of him. His father Harry vanishes soon afterwards. Twenty-six years later Andrew wants revenge. There's only one way he can let go of his past and become the man he wants to be: track down and kill his mother's murderer. His father.But whilIt wasn't every day you had the chance to track down the man who'd killed your mother.In 1964, Andrew Combs' mother is killed in front of him. His father Harry vanishes soon afterwards. Twenty-six years later Andrew wants revenge. There's only one way he can let go of his past and become the man he wants to be: track down and kill his mother's murderer. His father.But while Andrew thinks he knows what happened all those years ago, the truth is far darker. For Harry Combs turns out to be a man of many secrets.As shadowy figures from Harry's past threaten his life, and Andrew inches closer to killing him, the two men find themselves playing a very dangerous game of life and death. And only one of them can survive.A brilliant thriller with the pace and tension of Mark Billingham and the laconic style of Ramond Chandler....

Title : The Gentle Assassin
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780230757554
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 311 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Gentle Assassin Reviews

  • Christine
    2019-03-16 09:43

    This is the first Ryan David Jahn thriller I have read. It was rather a quick read and one that made me think (probably too much) about what the psychological affects of being a killer or an assassin, and how people live with themselves afterwards. It is unusual, as the story seems to be more of a character study. We follow a dysfunctional father/son relationship. Jahn has a way of making his characters complex, disturbing and understandable.The story takes us to the 1980s. Andrew Coombs’ mother was killed, when he was a small child. The murderer was his father, Harry. Andrew was then abandoned. Andrew is consumed with the idea of tracing his father and getting revenge. Harry was an assassin, a killer, and has since retired from that life. He is living with an alcoholic wife, in the back end of beyond. Andrew and Harry reunite, father and son together again, with moving and sad repercussions.The ‘Gentle Assassin’ is Harry, the ex-killer who has moved on his life. Meeting his son brings him hope and a wish for reconciliation. Andrew seems to have abandonment issues with his father and is seething with anger. He sees his father as a cold blooded killer and is surprised to find human kindness. Harry might be living incognito, but he still has the skills of a killer at his finger tips.I found it very moving seeing both Harry and Andrew try to negotiate an impossible relationship. Andrew had a very deep sense of morality, of what was right and wrong. He wants justice for his mother. It doesn’t take much for him to start to become his father. And Harry seemed to be very emotionally unaware, unable to read this in his son. This just hinted at the coldness and psychological issues within Harry. Total sociopathic tendencies. He wanted rather naively for the past to be forgiven and to earn the love of his son. I wanted them to find a way forward, somehow.I loved the way it was written and how I got sucked into the world of these two very sad damaged characters. A clever character driven thriller!

  • Raven
    2019-02-25 09:53

    As a confirmed devotee of Ryan David Jahn, was surprised that I did actually miss the release of The Gentle Assassin- slap on the wrists, but delighted to have caught up now! As my previous reviews testify, Jahn unerringly brings a film noirish tinge to his books, with his film-makers eye front and centre, backed up by his powerful and spare prose.The book focuses on Andrew Combs, whose mother is murdered when he is a child in the early 60‘s, with his father disappearing soon afterwards. Twenty-six years later, Andrew is gunning for revenge, and seeks to track down and murder the man he holds responsible- his father Harry Combs. With Andrew believing his own version of events, his father Harry is a man with far darker secrets accrued from his career with the CIA and his possible involvement in the Kennedy assassination. The net is closing on Harry, not only with his prodigal son, but with those who are trying to extinguish his connection to the tumultuous events of the past. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues…I think where Jahn always excels is in his examination of the human condition. In each of his books to date, the plot is always driven by the utterly real examination of the emotions, desires, strengths and failings which fuel our actions and relationships with others. Consequently throughout the book, the narrative pivots between the intense and fluctuating relationship between Andrew and Harry, with a series of imagined asides from both men with what their hearts are telling them to do, being over-ridden by, certainly in Andrew’s case, his moral core. As much as he wants to exact revenge on Harry, their is a still small voice manipulating his bravery and moral integrity, that proves an interesting counterpoint to the very different morality driving his father. These asides also work well for the reader fleshing out the huge amount of anger and resentment that is left partially unsaid, and as a result we are skilfully manipulated into changing our opinions and assumptions of two men as the story gathers pace. Harry in particular, now a mild-mannered bookseller, endlessly attentive to his cherished yet alcoholic wife, Teresa, is an enigma as Jahn takes us back and forth between events in the 60‘s and the present day. Jahn gradually reveals the many layers to Harry’s character, which provide more than one surprise along the way, whilst challenging the reader’s assumptions as to how far Andrew is a man made in his father’s image. It’s clever, unsettling, and Jahn’s manipulation of the usual linear story-arc adds to the reader’s changing viewpoint of these two compelling characters.Incidentally, The Gentle Assassin opens, and is interspersed with, references to A Study of Assassination, a CIA pamphlet distributed to agents, a useful handbook on the various and most effective ways to dispose of a human being, and the circumstances in which these methods should be deployed. This was more than a bit of an eye-opener on the clinical nature of the professional assassin and gives an additional tension and mirror on Harry’s dark past. Taken in conjunction with the slowly revealed tensions of the unfolding relationship of Harry with his long lost son, Jahn once again neatly constructs a thought provoking and intriguing book, that reaches above and beyond the neat label of thriller, into a fascinating study of the human psyche, and the thorny implications of family loyalty.

  • Rowena Hoseason
    2019-02-23 13:47

    Author RD Jahn is an expert at creating fully-fledged, complicated characters. He places them in ambiguous moral circumstances, fraught with fatal possibilities, and he does all this without wasting a word.In The Gentle Assassin, we meet Harry living a quiet life in 1990 or so. A mild-mannered bookseller who spends much of his time mopping up after his alcoholic wife. But Harry has a bitter past, one crammed with ice-cold acts of intentional violence. Harry-Present has does his best to bury Harry-Past, but when his adult son (abandoned as a very young boy) comes looking for him, the past catches up with Harry in a big way. While it’s not clear which of Harry’s personae is best suited to cope with the situation, the son himself is working to a deadly agenda…Jahn chops and swaps the narrative perspective and tells his story in bite-size chunks. So historic events are gradually revealed in flashbacks; the ongoing story is told from multiple perspectives. Not everyone will enjoy this form of storytelling – you have three separate beginnings to reconcile – and it’s not initially clear what has actually occurred and what might be only acted out in the minds of the characters. The story itself is interrupted by excerpts from a CIA assassination handbook: chilling in its purposeful clarity.This slim novel sneakily incorporates substantial philosophical debate into a streamlined story. Jahn shapes the outline of a compelling moral dilemma with a few swift strokes. His characters reveal their complexity in word and deed and he touches on many serious subjects: on inherited destiny; whether it is possible to reform and repent; the difference between assassination and murder; even who shot JFK.There's more thoughts on characters and plot here:-http://murdermayhemandmore.wordpress....Almost every chapter ends with a cutting observation, a blunt statement of human truth. A moment to make the reader stop. And think. On top of all that, there is a genuinely gripping dénouement where we’re really not sure what the outcome will be. Certainly someone will die. But who?If you have read The Winter of Frankie Machine (and you should) then you’ll find many similarities here. Likewise, A Last Act of Charity approaches the same subject from a different perspective. The Gentle Assassin is outright excellent, in any case. An excellent example of just how good – how relevant, how thoughtful – crime fiction can be.9/10

  • Beth Kemp
    2019-02-27 14:57

    Initial reaction: Had me guessing all the way through. Not a 'pacey' thriller, more a masterclass in the subtle creation of tension. Switching perspectives and an almost claustrophobically narrow focus drive the tension ever higher. I was delighted with the twisty ending. I'd never read any of Jahn's work before but I greatly enjoyed this novel. I loved that the novel's style was also 'gentle' with no excess anywhere - in tone, pace or phrasing. As with all thrillers, it's difficult to go too much into plot and character, as I do not want to give spoilers, so please forgive me the lack of concrete detail.However, as you can clearly tell from the blurb, the tight focus I reference above is trained on Harry Combs, the 'gentle assassin' of the title, and his adult son David Combs, tracking him down to seek revenge. I appreciated the shifts in perspective - and was intrigued to find that I wasn't clearly on one side or the other, so Jahn had successfully enabled me to empathise with both parties - and welcomed the addition of the occasional flashback to the night that started it all, when David was a baby and his mother was shot. I also thought it was a nice touch that the few secondary characters also contributed to the confusion over who to trust and whose motives were more admirable/forgivable.I read that the author has worked in film and TV and I think that might be why the book has a very 'filmed' feel: scenes are used quite similarly to how a film works and it was easy to imagine a camera panning across a scene or cutting to a flashback. The writing style is quite detached, leaving you to engage for yourself rather than being overly emotive. The novel overall is definitely a great example of 'less is more', in action, pace and writing.All in all, I enjoyed this as a tightly controlled and tense thriller. Fans of action-on-every-page may conceivably be disappointed, but if you like close and detailed character work and tension through conflict of interests, this is definitely recommended.

  • Anne
    2019-03-07 11:00

    The Gentle Assassin is my first taste of this author's work, and I doubt very much that it will be my last. There is something quite brusque, even pithy about this author's writing, he writes concisely, creating scenes that are breath-taking in their realism and presence.Harry Combs is the gentle assassin of the title. He has been on the run for many years and when he is finally tracked down by his son Andrew, he has to face up to what he used to be. Harry used to be a cold, calculating killer. He was hated by his father, his son wants him dead, and his wife drinks herself into oblivion on a daily basis.When Andrew confronts him, a whole bag of worms is opened up, and past events and faces come back to haunt Harry. Father and son must team up together to protect themselves, whilst learning about each other as they do.More than a crime novel; The Gentle Assassin is an in-depth look at the relationship between this father and son who only meet when the son is a grown man. It is violent and it pulls no punches, but it is also powerful and compassionate.Ryan David Jahn writes with a brutality that can be quite unsettling at times, but the authenticity of his words, and his expert dissection of the human psyche is excellently done.An author that I will certainly look out for in the future, I enjoyed The Gentle Assassin very much

  • Kim
    2019-02-21 10:50

    Another great read from the pen of Mr Jahn - have loved all his books so far and this was again excellent, although not his best. Andrew (hunting for the father he believed killed his mother 26 years ago) and father, Harry, alternate in telling the story and explaining their feelings in the present day. The reader also gets episodes explaining what happened in the past in relation to Harry, Andrew himself and Andrew's mother, Helen and events leading up to her death. 8.5/10.

  • Robin
    2019-02-18 09:55

    From an explosive opening – man and woman shot to death, a baby in a cot, the house set on fire – an intense drama unfolds.The narrative moves between this period, 1964, and events 26 years later. The baby in the cot survives and, filled with hate for his father, who was involved in the murders, gets a chance to catch up with his dad, Harry Combs, who now has a new identity and leads a quiet life as a bookseller. What will he do? Can Harry really rebuild a loving bond with his boy, Andrew? And now that Andrew has found his father, will some deadly ghosts from Harry's brutal past also catch up with him?This is a thriller that is claustrophobic with powerful emotions, which are sometimes truthfully illogical but homicidal. It has fascinating themes of redemption and the savagery that lingers in all of us. 'The lights were out in the darkest corners of your mind for a reason,' as Harry says. The characters are not always that appealing, but as is becoming increasingly the pattern in great contemporary TV series, such as Breaking Bad, it is hard not to be completely drawn into the conflicts of our dangerous protagonists here. Another interesting strain of the story is the disturbingly disengaged CIA manual on assassination methods quoted throughout, which echoes with Harry's murky past as a hitman.This was my first Ryan David Jahn novel and I was totally in the grip of its tautly told story. A tale about cold-hearted men that nevertheless has heart.

  • Frederick Tan
    2019-03-19 12:01

    A lot of philosophical conversation occur in this novel. The story of a son who hated his father whom he believed has murdered his mother. His quest to find his father and to put a bullet into him is as maniacal as self justification to erase the stain of his father from his life. This obsession with the past led Andrew to device all manner of scheme to eliminate his father become an all consuming passion which ultimately led to a tragic ending with a twist. What he thought happen all those years are nothing but an illusion.

  • Wilde Sky
    2019-03-10 13:46

    A child’s mother is murdered and twenty-six years later he sets out to find his father / the truth.I thought this story was very good, but the writing varied between the brilliant and clunky on the same page - which meant that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I should have done.The characters were well drawn and as complex as people are in real life and the father / son relationship (though very extreme) rang true with me and the plot twists and turns had me guessing to the end.

  • John Murphy
    2019-03-06 17:02

    Jahn never disappoints. More character driven than previous work but lacking non of the grittiness or sense of atmosphere. One of the most under rated authors around.