Book Review of Russell Blake’s “King of Swords.”

Russell Blake does it again! I can’t tell you how thoroughly impressed I am with King of Swords…well, I can try. Grab a copy, and lock yourself in the house.

“Russell Blake is no stranger to the thriller genre. His previous thrillers have turned the headlines inside-out, with gritty, no-holds-barred, edge-of-your-seat plots. With King of Swords, Russell Blake has clearly taken the best of his previous novels, and combined them into an honest, often brutal, heart stopping thriller, that left me gasping for air, and squirming on my couch. I know this sounds overly dramatic, but in reader-speak…this book kept me glued to the Kindle screen.

In King of Swords, the reader is taken on a journey through drug cartel ruled Mexico, where violence often trumps hard cash, as the dominant cultural currency. Blake clearly draws on his own knowledge of the political and cultural climate in Mexico, to present a realistic and stark backdrop to a thriller in the fast-paced, intelligent tradition of Frederick Forsyth’s “Day of the Jackal.”

The reader is quickly introduced to El Rey, the king of assassins, whose mysterious ways, and dramatic, unprecedented success as an assassin, has catapulted him to a legendary status on par with Carlos “The Jackal.” It has also increased his contract fee to exorbitant levels, only affordable to the ruthless Mexican drug cartel leaders…and maybe a few omnipresent government agencies that we’ll leave unnamed for now. Yes, a Russell Blake novel would not be complete, without the nefarious meddling of forces well beyond the scope of everyday Mexican life. Blake’s conspiracy angle is brilliant and believable at every level in King of Swords.

Following closely on El Rey’s heels, is veteran “narcotraficante” hunter Captain Romero Cruz, who has dedicated his life, at great personal cost, to dismantling what he sees as the greatest threat to Mexico’s future…the drug cartels. A seemingly futile, thankless task, that has cost him nearly everything. A spectacular raid early in the book, results in the capture of a high level cartel leader, who makes a boast that Cruz can’t possibly ignore. El Rey has been hired to do the unthinkable, and the deeper Cruz digs into the possibility of the truth, the more frightening and devastating the consequences of El Rey’s “final” contract appears.

In a race against time, and a cunningly ruthless assassin, Cruz and his admirably brave task force, take on nearly impossible odds to stop an assassination that could change the landscape of North America forever. I’ve read all of Mr. Blake’s novels, and feel that he has truly “hit his stride” with King of Swords.”