The Silver Bear (Silver Bear Series #1)

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"He wants you to know him, maybe even admire him, but only for his excellence in his craft. Perhaps he was even born for it. "A natural killer," his mentor - a middleman named Vespucci - said he was. He proved it with his first professional hit: a Fifth Circuit Court judge in Boston, executed with a sheet of Saran Wrap in the stairwell of her own courthouse. He's proved his merit often, usually with a Glock semiautomatic, but he's improvised too, with his bare hands, the heel of a shoe, knives, even a sewing machine. He is the consummate ...
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Overview

"He wants you to know him, maybe even admire him, but only for his excellence in his craft. Perhaps he was even born for it. "A natural killer," his mentor - a middleman named Vespucci - said he was. He proved it with his first professional hit: a Fifth Circuit Court judge in Boston, executed with a sheet of Saran Wrap in the stairwell of her own courthouse. He's proved his merit often, usually with a Glock semiautomatic, but he's improvised too, with his bare hands, the heel of a shoe, knives, even a sewing machine. He is the consummate assassin, at the top of his form, immune to the psychological strains of his chosen profession. He is what the Russians call a Silver Bear." "He calls himself Columbus. It's the name Vespucci gave him ten years ago, when he discovered a dark, new world of fences, clients, marks, jobs, jack. Not that his real name meant much to him anyways. He never knew his father or his mother, a prostitute who became dangerously involved back in the seventies with an earnest young congressman named Abe Mann, then a rising star in the Democratic Party." The magnetic Abe Mann has since become Speaker of the House. Currently a front-runner for the Democratic nomination in an exhausting presidential campaign, he's weaving his way across the country - with Columbus not far behind. But as the Silver Bear closes in on perhaps his most important mark, the underworld he has always ruled abruptly turns against him.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Tight, swift debut thriller from the co-screenwriter of the 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma about a crack assassin hired to rub out his father. Highlights of Haas's cinematic thriller include a cross-country junket, quick reversals, lightning violence and a surprising denouement. On the road goes a "silver bear" (the term Russians use for assassins who earn top dollar because their shots never miss), prowling from Boston to Los Angeles. The "bear," using the name Columbus, stalks congressman Abe Mann, who fathered the boy with Amanda B., a black prostitute. After giving birth to Columbus, Amanda turns up dead, stabbed in the neck in circumstances never explained. Mann's possible involvement in the case and the cruel abandonment of his son help readers swallow a premise, reminiscent of The Manchurian Candidate, that an offspring might assassinate his famous parent. By telling the story from the assassin's point of view, Haas layers on novelistic texture that a film version may miss. In chilling interior passages echoing The Day of the Jackal, the "bear" explicates the cold-blooded methods that make him a top killer. All the while, Haas stokes sympathy for his anti-hero. The assassin's back story leads to a foster home where Columbus endures abuse and then to a juvenile detention center where he serves time after the killing of his foster mother. Post detention, Columbus initiates a touching relationship with a young woman at the same time he's recruited as an assassin. The two pursuits clash, as his handlers had forewarned, and, to save his girlfriend's life, Columbus brutally dispatches and abandons her. But having awakened tender feelings, she haunts his memory. He's left wondering about herin a coda that points to a series on page and screen. Lean work, with every word counting and adding up to more than most authors land in twice the space. Agent: Mel Berger/William Morris Agency
The Barnes & Noble Review
How does a young writer get his first thriller published with a bang these days? First, you coauthor a sharp remake of a classic western movie, 3:10 to Yuma, the 2007 version starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Next, you come up with a concept so high that it might give publishers and readers a nosebleed: An ace hit man hired (no spoiler here: it's in the book jacket copy) to kill his own father. Then you do such a good job of bringing this high concept to life that early readers compare it favorably to Graham Greene, Lawrence Block, Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate, and Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal. The Silver Bear -- which is what the Russians call a world-class hit man -- is almost as good as they say it is. Sure, there are five or ten too many flashbacks to old cases or to childhood mistreatment and retribution, but some of them (like the time the killer, known as Columbus, murders a federal judge with Saran Wrap) have great power. And a lot of Columbus's inner dialogue, though beautifully crafted, is also frequently pretentious. "I spin with a whirl part tornado and part grace, and before an inhale can become an exhale, I have a pistol up and raised in my hand..." Haas, who seems to have a Columbus series in mind, has another job to finish first -- the screenplay of The Materese Circle, by another suspense explorer and pioneer named Robert Ludlum. --Dick Adler
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515147636
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Series: Silver Bear Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Derek Haas is the author of the novels The Silver Bear and Columbus. Derek co-wrote the screenplays for 3:10 to Yuma, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, and Wanted, starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie. His latest film, The Double, starred Richard Gere and Martin Sheen. Derek lives in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    great book, I've read the assassin's trilogy, but I want to know

    great book, I've read the assassin's trilogy, but I want to know what book comes after that one.

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    Columbus has a natural talent as a killer. It is instinct for Columbus, a way of life. Even with his first hit he proved himself more than capable of getting the job done. When a gun doesn't do the job, he can use whatever prop comes his way. If there isn't anything readily available, he will happily kill with his bare hands.

    His latest assignment isn't quite going the way he has planned. When Columbus finds himself drowning in a pool of secrets, he begins to question the path he has chosen in life.

    Brilliantly written. Thriller fans everywhere will sing praise for this book. Even though Columbus was a killer, he's a really likable character.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    Top of the Top

    If you like a suspense thrillers with moment to moment appeal, this is it ! You won't want to put it down. My favorite author in years. His first novel will want you hoping for a series. From beginning to end, you lose yourself in the life of this new character - Columbus. Read it and pass on the news ' That the BEAR is in town and he is frighteningly special '

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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