3 out of 4 stars
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CIA ASSASSIN And Other Stories by Benson Grayson is a work of fiction portraying different accounts of betrayal and espionage in three separate short stories: “CIA Assassin”, “The Saudi Pilot”, and “The Russian Spy-Master”. A key factor in how well these stories were delivered is the author’s background. Benson Grayson had more than twenty-five years of experience in intelligence operations, which explains why these stories are so engrossing and feel real.
“CIA Assassin” contained a gripping twist that drew you in and had you glued to your seat to find out how they got away with such a scandal. My adrenaline was sky-high as I quickly read through the pages and I felt like a part of the story. Ed Kramer, a CIA agent had just wanted to retire with his pension and reconnect with the family he had lost touch with during his service. Things got eerie when he is given an ultimatum that had to be completed in order to be granted his pension. He held hesitancy towards the assignment, but knew his choices were limited and stepped up to the plate. I thought that top secret assignment was the climax of the story, but it only got better from there.
Once the true mystery was figured out the more detailed aspects of wrapping up and bringing the real defectors to justice was brought to life retrospectively in an award that was presented to Kramer during his retirement ceremony. I loved the direction “CIA Assassin” took and the plot as a whole. The only thing I wish was a little different was how quickly it wrapped up. The entire story is gripping and then the actions that took place to really resolve the conflict were only mentioned briefly within five sentences at the end, and it left you wanting more. I can appreciate that this story alone could have formed a novel, so some things had to be condensed to make it into a short story, so I’ll except that and it still gets a raving review in my eyes.
“The Saudi Pilot” was another twisted tale that had me mischievously smiling at the end like I was a part of the peril. I loved the plotting and hidden agendas throughout this story. By the end I felt like I was a part of the plotting. I started scheming and thought I had found the perfect opportunity to tie up one more loose end as someone walks across the street. I began to think like the characters and try and anticipate their next move.
This story held yet another impossible assignment that had them struggling ethically if they could step up to the plate. The CIA Director and his subordinates had to find a creative way to “accidentally” kill a king and make sure there were no ties back to them. The scheme was innovative yet precise. It had to be executed exactly as intended or the true intentions of the mission might have been exposed and would have created a war between the countries. “Saudi Pilot” had you on the edge of your seat till the end.
“The Russian Spy-Master” was manipulative and thought provoking. This story is a little different than the first two because it’s based on Russian government operatives traveling to the United States instead of United States government officials traveling to other countries to deal with their unsavory assignments. “The Russian Spy-Master” was more intellectually stimulating than the others with less action but more calculated scheming. It was a great, lighter story that ended this trio off on a high note.
Both the “CIA Assassin” and “The Saudi Pilot” contain the theme of an unethical and illegal assignment to eliminate a target. The lead characters both face apprehension when accepting their roles, but when they do you are taken on a journey of how they accomplished the assignment and the aftermath. “The Russian Spy-Master” did not have the problem of having to kill a target, but the elimination factor was still relevant. The Russian agent was faced with a decision to either be caught under a bus or to throw someone else there first and eliminate his threat more deviously. “The Saudi Pilot” was my favorite of the three short stories but they were all memorable. The entirety of CIA ASSASSIN And Other Stories made for a fun and exciting read and I would rate this collection of short stories 3 out of 4 stars. The one note and the only thing that held me back from a perfect score, which is something that will easily change after it has gone through some professional editing, is the constant misspellings and grammar errors. Besides that I would highly recommend this book to all the adrenaline junkies, mystery and suspense lovers, and people that want a good story, but don’t have the time to read a full novel. It always feels great to feel that accomplishment after finishing a story and with this book you’ll get that small victory three times and come out of it a winner.
CIA ASSASSIN And Other Stories
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