"A thinking person's thriller that'll keep you up all night, flipping pages with sweaty fingers! Wignall's Who Is Conrad Hirst? races from start to finish, setting new standards for crime fiction. A brilliant premise, perfectly executed." Jeffery Deaver, author of The Sleeping Doll and The Bone Collector
"Who Is Conrad Hirst? is a classic espionage novel in the tradition of Ambler, Deighton, and early Le Carré. It reminds me of everything that first thrilled me about this genre." Joseph Finder, author of Power Play and Killer Instinct
"Brilliant and mesmerizing, Who Is Conrad Hirst? explores the psychology of the ruthless killer with breakneck plotting, beautiful writing, and an ending that will leave you devastated." Olen Steinhauer, author of Liberation Movements and 36 Yalta Boulevard
…this thriller is brisk and to the point. And it does not traffic in euphemisms.
The Washington Post
British author Wignall (For the Dogs) successfully channels Robert Ludlum in this lean, muscular thriller with more than a few parallels to Ludlum's Jason Bourne series. Conrad Hirst, a remorseless European hit man burnt out by a life of violence, plans to walk away from the business by eliminating the only four people who know his identity. Of course, it isn't that simple. Hirst's first target, Frank Dillon, admits as he's dying that he has lied to Hirst consistently about Hirst's true employer. Later, Hirst learns that the man he thought was his employer, German crime boss Julius Eberhardt, was only using Eberhardt's identity and may in fact be connected with the CIA. Hirst's ignorance of most tradecraft is a little less than plausible, as is his naïveté in trusting the attractive women he meets just as his plan hits high gear. Still, Wignall's ability to blend meaningful characterizations with suspenseful action shows a talent that many other genre writers would envy. A film, to be directed by Liam Kan and Grant Hodgson, is in the works. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
A prickly hit man tenders his resignation with lots and lots of bullets in this unconventional flash of pulp fiction. British crime writer Wignall (For the Dogs, 2004, etc.) gets all Bourne again in this fast-paced thriller that borrows more than a little from the Hollywood adaptation of Ludlum's famous spy. His memory and morally challenged anti-hero is Conrad Hirst, a deeply damaged (if cold-as-ice) hit man far fonder of gunplay than unarmed combat. With deep pangs of guilt gnawing at his soul, Hirst has decided it's time for his gold watch, or whatever reward criminals get when they retire. A veteran of the Balkan wars with the scars to prove it, the British assassin believes he's been working for a vast criminal empire for the past decade, killing anyone his boss puts on the list. Determined to escape his felonious career, Hirst decides to kill the only four men who can positively identify him, starting with his handler, a weapons supplier and a documents forger. His last and final target is mastermind Julius Eberhardt. To explain his reasons for leaving, Hirst writes a lonely, romantic confession to a dead girl, Anneke, who inspires his longing for another life. The first couple of hits go fine before a nefarious conspiracy starts evolving before the killer's very eyes, bringing the titular question into play. Is Conrad a criminal, a brainwashed governmental assassin or something else entirely? It doesn't matter much either way to Hirst, who muses, "The way I see it, the underbelly of the business counts for nothing if no one's alive who can connect me to it."Wignall fails to fully exploit the exotic European locales, and the fleeting action sequences leave something to be desired.Agent: Deborah Schneider/Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents Inc.