Author: Nicole Castle
Pages/Word Count: 168 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Blurb: Miko is a devoted son. An irresponsible brother. A protective friend. An anonymous lover. An assassin, nicknamed the Mako Shark after the sheer violence of his hits. Miko is deadly. And damaged.
Miko is in love.
Review: The Consequence of High Caliber is author Nicole Castle’s third published book, and I’ve read all three of them. She is now an author who is on my absolutely-must-read list, and it’s all because she has a knack for bringing to life characters that are broken to the point of being irredeemable—or should be—then somehow makes you relate to them in ways that shouldn’t be possible. Her characters’ psychopathy is their charm, if you can believe that: dangerous, deadly, flawed, funny and sympathetic all at once. There’s never been a more appealing group of assassins in all of fiction, and a great part of the fun of the books is trying to figure these people out.
Fair warning, I’m going to use the “C” word in this review. Yes…cliffhanger. Miko may well be one of this authors more heartbreaking characters, and is as deserving of a happy ending as any character I’ve ever read. He has a laundry list of emotional and psychological afflictions that began in childhood, and the way he came by all of them is the true sorrow because they’ve left him not only scarred but almost childlike in some ways. His heart is in the right place, but his actions are so skewed by his warped sense of right and wrong that he’s a walking contradiction, but one you can’t help but love.
The story is told in the present and past, which makes this sensitive and brutal man even more enigmatic as we are offered bits and pieces of his history and character, but must keep reading to put them all together. Then, just when things might be looking up, Nicole Castle throws in a big NOT and slams the door on the book at a critical point in Miko’s relationship with Toby, the man Miko needs more than anyone else in the world right now, and always. That darn “C” word…
If there has ever been a better example of “opposites attract”, Toby would best be described as Miko’s paradox. There’s a line drawn between these two men, one of them so sickened by violence that he does everything he can to avoid it, the other sickened by violence yet lives hand-in-hand with it as a way of life. Their two extremes do eventually collide, and it throws into evidence how very much Miko needs Toby as a touchstone to his humanity, if not his sanity, when Toby sends Miko away.
One of the more delightful aspects of this world Nicole Castle has created is the moral ambiguity experienced as we root for these characters. They shouldn’t be as loveable as they are. They are murderers with a twisted sort of logic, cold-blooded killers for hire who, with all their idiosyncrasies and sociopathic behavior and code of un-ethics, still manage to hold to their own brand of honor. Being completely enamored of such aberrant people probably says more about me than it does about the characters, but I am one-hundred percent hooked on them and their murderous ways.
A Consequence of High Caliber is a tightly paced one-hundred and sixty-eight pages, not quite as much action as the books in the Chance Assassin series (this book’s cousin), but every bit as irresistible because of its characters. If you’re looking for something that’s more than just a bit different from the norm, this book and its author won’t disappoint.
You can buy The Consequence of High Caliber (The Mako Shark: Book One) here: