The Assassin (Tommy Carmellini Series #3)
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The Assassin (Tommy Carmellini Series #3)

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by Stephen Coonts

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From Stephen Coonts comes a novel of high octane excitement, featuring Tommy Carmellini in his most dangerous mission yet.
In the finale of Coonts’s last novel The Traitor, the ruthless and brilliant Al Qaeda leader who nearly succeeded in blowing up a meeting of the Group of 7 in Paris slipped the noose and escaped. But Abu Qasim has another trick


From Stephen Coonts comes a novel of high octane excitement, featuring Tommy Carmellini in his most dangerous mission yet.
In the finale of Coonts’s last novel The Traitor, the ruthless and brilliant Al Qaeda leader who nearly succeeded in blowing up a meeting of the Group of 7 in Paris slipped the noose and escaped. But Abu Qasim has another trick up his sleeve: he has offered to pay a the Mafia a fortune to help him bring New York to its knees.
The CIA learns that something is up and a worried president sends his best—Jake Grafton and his secret weapon, Tommy Carmellini. Tommy is soon in grave danger as he tries to piece the deadly puzzle together. Set amidst ticking bombs and flying bullets, the stakes have never been higher. Will Tommy put it all together in time t stop the disaster? Or will the terrorists set events in motion that will leave America reeling?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Coonts's exciting third thriller to star reformed burglar turned CIA operative Tommy Carmellini (after The Traitor) raises a timely issue-the lack of well-to-do Americans on combat duty in the war against terrorism. When an Iraqi bomb kills Huntington Winchester's only child, a Harvard med student who joined the navy out of patriotism, the grieving father decides he and his privileged friends aren't doing enough to defend civilization against the jihadist threat. Winchester gets tacit approval from one of those friends, the unnamed U.S. president, for him and some other well-to-do types to finance their own private war. When al-Qaeda mastermind Abu Qasim discovers the identities of those in Winchester's group and targets them, Carmellini and his CIA boss, Adm. Jake Grafton, determine to set a trap that involves Qasim's possible daughter. Though the constant switching between various points-of-view distracts at times, the action moves swiftly to its Hollywood ending. Author tour. (Aug.)

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Library Journal

This 13th installment in New York Times best-selling author Coonts's popular Jake Grafton series closely follows the events of his last book, The Traitor. Here, CIA operatives Grafton and Tommy Carmellini are joined in their pursuit of terrorist Abu Qasim by a group of international businessmen, bankers, and shippers. Because the story is told at turns by Tommy and an omniscient narrator, Obie® and Audie® Award winner Dennis Boutsikaris's portrayal of Tommy could have benefited from more defined vocal characterization. But his performance is wonderfully restrained, and he deftly fuses narration and reportage. Recommended for libraries with medium to large mystery-thriller collections as well as for those with other titles in this series. [Audio and video clips of interviews with the author available through]
—Gwendolyn E. Osborne

From the Publisher

“Only a gifted performer could bring such an incredible story to life and, equally important, make it believable. Dennis Boutsikaris is the right man for the job. He provides realistic accents for the colorful characters that abound. Furthermore, he knows exactly when to ratchet up the tension and bring listeners to the edge of their seats. Ultimately, Boutsikaris makes the unbelievable seem like breaking news. Incredible!” —AudioFile on The Assassin

“...[Boutsikaris's] performance is wonderfully restrained, and he deftly fuses narration and reportage.” —Library Journal on The Assassin

“Dennis Boutsikaris packs his presentation with a dazzling variety of accents and characters of both genders. However, he is at his best as Carmellini. Boutsikaris provides a unique vocal identity with an expression and tempo that match Tommy's wiseacre attitude. With just a little imagination, listeners get the feeling they are sharing a beer with Carmellini while Tommy tells his fascinating story. It doesn't get much better than this.” —AudioFile on The Traitor, Winner of the Earphones award for truly exceptional presentations

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Tommy Carmellini Series, #3
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt



Ragheads dragged the driver out of the vehicle and took him away," the sergeant told the lieutenant, who was sitting in a Humvee. "They shot the woman in the car. She’s still in it. Iraqi grunt says she’s alive but the assholes put a bomb in the car. They’re using her as cheese in the trap."

"Shit," said the lieutenant and rubbed the stubble on his chin.

The day was hot, and the chatter of automatic weapons firing bursts was the musical background. The column of vehicles had ground to a halt in a cloud of dust, and since there was no wind, the dust sifted softly down, blanketing equipment and men and making breathing difficult.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer Third Class Owen Winchester moved closer to the lead vehicle so that he could hear the lieutenant and sergeant better.

He could see the back end of an old sedan with faded, peeling paint sitting motionless alongside the road about fifty yards ahead. Three Marines and three Iraqi soldiers were huddled in an irrigation ditch fifty feet to the right of the road. On the left was a block of houses.

"Let me go take a look," Winchester said to the lieutenant.

"Listen, doc," the sergeant said, glancing at Winchester. "The ragheads would love to do you same as they would us."

"I want to take a look," Winchester insisted. "If she can be saved..." He left it hanging there as distant small-arms fire rattled randomly.

The place was a sun-baked hellhole; it made Juarez look like Paris on the Rio Bravo. The tragedy was that real humans tried to live here... and were murdered here by rats with guns who wanted to rule the dungheap in the name of a vengeful, merciless god, one who demanded human sacrifice as a ticket to Paradise.

The lieutenant had been in Iraq for six months and was approaching burnout. The wanton, savage cruelty of the true believers no longer appalled him—he accepted it, just as he did the heat and dirt and human misery he saw everywhere he looked. He forced himself to think about the situation. A woman. Shot. She would probably die unless something was done. So what? No, no, don’t think like that, he thought. That’s the way they think, which is why the Devil lives here. After a few seconds, he said, "Okay. Take a look. And watch your ass."

The sergeant didn’t say another word, merely began trotting ahead in that bent-over combat trot of soldiers the world over. With his firstaid bag over his shoulder, Winchester followed.

They flopped into the irrigation ditch directly opposite the car, where they could see into the passenger compartment. There was a woman in there, all right, slumped over. She wasn’t wearing a head scarf. They could see her dark hair.

Fifteen feet from them was the rotting carcass of a dog. In this heat, the stench was awe-inspiring.

An Iraqi soldier joined them. "She has been shot," he said in heavily accented English. "Stomach. I get close, see her and bomb."

"How are they going to detonate it, you think?" Winchester asked, looking around, trying to spot the triggerman. He saw no one but the Iraqi soldiers and Marines lying on their stomachs in the irrigation ditch, away from the dog. The mud-walled and brick buildings across the way looked empty, abandoned, their windows blank and dark.

"Cell phone, most likely," the sergeant said sourly. "From somewhere over there, in one of those apartments. Or a garage door opener."

"Saving lives is my job," the corpsman said. "I want to take a look."

"You’re an idiot."

"Probably." Winchester grinned. He had a good grin.

"Jesus! Don’t do nothin’ stupid."

With that admonition ringing in his ears, Winchester ditched the first-aid bag and trotted toward the car. From ten feet away he could see the woman’s head slumped over, see that the door was ajar. He closed to five feet.

She wasn’t wearing a seat belt, and a bomb was lying on the driver’s seat. Looked like four sticks of dynamite, fused, with a black box taped to the bundle. The woman moved her head slightly, and he heard a low moan.

Winchester ran back to the ditch, holding his helmet in place, and flopped down beside the sergeant.

"There’s a bomb on the driver’s seat," he told the sergeant, whose name was Joe Martinez. "And she’s still alive. I think I can get her out of there before they blow it. Takes time to dial a phone, time for the network to make the phone you called ring. Might be enough time."

"Might be just enough to kill you, you silly son of a bitch."

"The door is ajar and she isn’t wearing a seat belt. I can do this. Open the door and grab her and run like hell."

"You’re an idiot," Sergeant Martinez repeated.

"Would you try it if she was your sister?"

"She ain’t my sister," the sergeant said with feeling as he scanned the buildings across the road. "What do they say? No good deed goes unpunished?"

"I will go," the Iraqi soldier said. He laid his weapon on the edge of the ditch, began taking off his web belt. "Two men, one on each arm."

"She’s my sister, Joe," Owen Winchester said to Martinez. He grinned again, broadly.

The sergeant watched as Winchester and the Iraqi soldier took off all their gear and their helmets, so they could run faster.

"You fuckin’ swabbie! You got balls as big as pumpkins. How do you carry them around?" Martinez laid down his rifle, took off his web belt and tossed his helmet beside the rifle. "I’ll get the door. You two get her." He took a deep breath and exhaled explosively. "Okay, on three. One, two, threeeee!"

They vaulted from the ditch and sprinted toward the car. The sergeant jerked the door open. The other two men reached in, Winchester grabbing one arm and the Iraqi the other, and pulled the wounded woman from the car, then hooked an arm under each armpit. Joe Martinez picked up her feet, and they began to run.

They were ten feet from the car when the bomb exploded.

Excerpted from The Assassin by Stephen Coonts

Copyright © 2008 by Stephen Coonts

Published in 2008 by St. Martin’s Press

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Meet the Author

Stephen Coonts is the author of many New York Times bestselling books, which have been translated and published around the world. His novels include Flight of the Intruder, The Disciple, The Assassin, and the Deep Black and Saucers series. A former naval aviator and Vietnam combat veteran, he is a graduate of West Virginia University and the University of Colorado School of Law. He lives in Houston, Texas with his wife and son.

Dennis Boutsikaris, winner of AudioFile Magazine's 2010 Best Voice in Mystery & Suspense, has recorded more than 100 audiobooks for publishers in the United States and Great Britain. His critically-acclaimed work has garnered four Golden Earphone awards and two Best Voices of the Year Awards from AudioFile Magazine and five Audies from the Audio Publishers of America.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
July 19, 1946
Place of Birth:
Morgantown, West Virginia
B.A., West Virginia University, 1968; J.D., University of Colorado, 1979

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The Assassin (Tommy Carmellini Series #3) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
VirginiaYank More than 1 year ago
I like the writing style used for the Tommy Carmellini series. Kind of a Sam Spade joins the CIA amalgam. Worth the read.
tootOP More than 1 year ago
Typical of series,excitment,suspense anda goot plot!!!
ACB80 More than 1 year ago
Didn't put it down until the battery ran out. Good reading as always.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Great suspense. An unexpected twist or Coonts! Again, I wish I knew Grafton and Carmellini in real life. The only one missing is Toad!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the story line. It was intriguing, kept you wondering about Marisa and how Oasim would complete his goal as a terrorist. I read it during the week of the Boston Marathon bombing and it fit in with terrorist reality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my 2nd book I have read by Stephen Coonts, the 1st " Deep Black" and has yet to let me down. The ending was well disguised.
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It was an okay book. I don't know that I would read another in the series. It was not a suspenseful, can't put it down kind of book.
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BeckyDennis More than 1 year ago
I read this book in one day non-stop because I could not put it down. I have read eight of the first ten of Stephen Coonts' books and I am hooked. The Tommy Carmellini series is a must read. I recommend reading the first two in the series before reading this book because everything makes more sense and the emotion has a greater impact but if you only read this book you will enjoy it. Stephen Coonts has a writing style of attention to detail and description that captures the reader. He has good character development and well thought out realistic plots. Tommy Carmellini is one of my favorite characters. He makes mistakes and his past is not perfect. He is an average guy trying to make a living. Enjoy!
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