The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva

November 4, 2013

kill artist Plot summary (from the publisher): Once a key operative in secret Israeli-intelligence missions, Gabriel Allon is on the run from his past, assuming a quiet life as a meticulous restorer of priceless works of art. But now he is being called back into the game. The agent with whom he is teamed hides behind her own beautiful mask-as a French fashion model. Their target: a cunning terrorist on one last killing spree, a Palestinian zealot named Tariq who played a dark part in Gabriel’s past. What begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by political intrigue and deep personal passions. In a world where secrecy and duplicity are absolute, revenge is a luxury no man can afford-and the greatest masterpiece of all.

Warning: Spoilers below!


  • This was the first Daniel Silva book I’ve ever read, but it won’t be the last. I really enjoyed his writing style and felt that I was in capable hands right from the start. The plotting was tight and action-packed, and the book had only a few slow spots (and even those were relatively easy to work through).
  • The character development in this book was fantastic. Of course I expected Gabriel, as the main character, to be developed fully, so that was no surprise. But every other character, from Shamron to Jacqueline to Tariq, the gallery owner, and the money man were fairly well-developed. The author allowed us to spend a bit of time with each of them and allowed us to see their own personal motivation for getting involved in the plot.
  • Speaking of the plot, it was complex but not labyrinthine to the point of not being able to follow what was happening. I liked trying to work out the different agendas, and though the little “twist” at the end (that Yusef was part of Ari’s team and that Ari essentially used Gabriel as bait for Tariq) felt unnecessary, I found almost everything to be believable.
  • I love the art restoration angle and hope that comes into play in future Gabriel Allon novels as well.


  • I didn’t like how Tariq suddenly got cold feet and wasn’t able to take out Arafat after all. This guy was built-up as a cold-blooded assassin throughout the entire novel, but then he just caves because of some nostalgic storytelling from his target? Come on, I didn’t buy that at all.
  • One of the slow spots for me was when Yusef was telling Jacqueline his backstory. I thought that was boring as hell.


I’ve been looking for a good, long novel series that I can really sink my teeth into, and the Gabriel Allon books by Daniel Silva are beginning to look promising. The Kill Artist was a great start, and I’m looking forward to getting to the next one. I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

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