*A Financial Times Best Thriller Book of 2022*
You'll never know my name.
But you won't forget my number.
Behind the events you know are the killers you don’t. When diplomacy fails, we're the ones who gear up. Officially we don’t exist, but every government in the world uses our services. We’ve been saving the world, and your ass, for one hundred years.
Sixteen people have done this job before me. I am Seventeen. The most feared assassin in the world. But to be the best, you must beat the best. My next target is Sixteen, just as one day Eighteen will hunt me down. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and it gets lonely at the top. Nobody gets to stay for long. But while we're here, all that matters is that we win.
Visceral, cinematic and wildly addictive, Seventeen will keep you on the edge of your seat and live long in the memory. Until Eighteen comes along…
The hit man codenamed Seventeen, the narrator of Brownlow's pulse-pounding debut, was preceded by Sixteen, now retired, and the line stretches back to the Romanovs. Seventeen, who reports to a boss known only as Handler, works his way through two stressful hits in Berlin, pulling them both off but showing the sort of weakness and hesitation that make clients nervous. Sure enough, Eighteen, highly trained and itching to get to the top of the heap, is tasked with taking out Seventeen, but fails. Rattled and sensing that Handler may try to reactivate Sixteen, Seventeen begins an arduous search-and-destroy mission at Sixteen's well-protected hideout in rural South Dakota. The two clash, fighting to a deadlock, before deciding to join forces against a mutual enemy. An explosive showdown awaits in the California desert. After a brisk start, the action moves more haltingly toward the end. Seventeen's captivating voice—imagine a cold killer who speaks with savage directness but desperately wants to bring the reader into the complexity of his world—helps carry the plot and mask some of its formulaic aspects and silliness. Bronlow is off to a good start.