Author: Nicole Castle
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: I have what could probably be described as an unhealthy love for this series, and The Inauspicious List only reaffirms it!
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: With a new handler and Silva’s book of hits, Frank and Vincent’s marital bliss is only interrupted by the occasional spat over whose turn it is to kill. But when their jobs stop going according to plan, a detour takes them down a path that could bring the end of their careers. And their lives.
Review: So, if you haven’t started reading this series yet, let me catch you up: Everyone in it is certifiably insane. There. Now you’re caught up.
After a brief respite to allow Bella and Casey to have their say in Les Recidivists, Nicole Castle has brought two of my all-time favorite assassins back for book three in the Chance Assassin series, The Inauspicious List. Just to catch you up even further on what exactly the list is, it’s a book full of names…which doesn’t sound all that exciting until you know those who are named in this book are people who someone has hired our assassins to kill. Fun, right? Well, the “Inauspicious” part of the title means not so much fun for our hitmen and hitwomen (Bella <3), but it adds up to loads of entertainment for us readers.
Frank and Vincent are our happily wedded couple, blissfully come out of retirement after V was forced to take some time off to recuperate, having sustained some serious head injuries whose aftereffects still haunt him but for which Frank made the kidnapper pay dearly. One of the most absolutely awesome things about these characters, I must say, is their hunger for violence—yet they’re so damned likeable. They live for the kill, and I know that adoring them sounds crazy, but it’s nonetheless true. These guys barter hits like kids trading baseball cards, and their gleeful anticipation of wreaking havoc is infectious, to say the least. That’s how lovely Nicole Castle’s storytelling is: she’s created this band of social and psychological misfits who kill for fun and profit, who, outside of these books, would be considered irredeemable (at best), and she makes them completely lovable…in a pathological and twisted and joyful sort of way.
In an even lovelier addition to this installment of the series, V’s narration of certain events which occurred with our sweet and loopy Miko in The Result of a Straight Razor (book two in the Mako Shark companion series about a rival set of assassins), have now overlapped into Chance Assassin. One of the things I loved about getting these particular scenes from Vincent’s point-of-view was not only the effect the encounters had on Frank and V, but also seeing Miko through someone else’s eyes. The beauty in this is that had we only seen our oddball outsider assassin via V’s storytelling, Miko wouldn’t be nearly as wonderful and sympathetic as he is in his own books. Honestly, it made me love him a li’l bit more. He’s sincerely broken and somehow a little bit smishable too.
I’d also be somewhat remiss not to add somewhere in here how beautifully warped Frank and V’s relationship is, so I’ll say it now. Looking for a non-traditional romance? This is it. These two men met after Vincent had been stabbed during a job-gone-wrong he’d been set up for. V was only a teenager at the time, though he had an unfortunate amount of experience with sex by then, and he set about seducing Frank in a rather comical and tenacious way. Let me assure you, though, that Frank waited until Vincent was of legal age to consummate their relationship. So even with their age difference and in spite of the way they met, even in their twisted “yes, of course I shot you on purpose because, hello, you shot me on purpose years ago” way, these two guys just fit like a custom tailored straight jacket. I love every single one of their interactions because they’re so sincerely in love with each other. They just so happen to show it in a different way. When these two men said “‘til death do us part,” they meant it. Probably in a hail of gunfire.
So, in the end, the merde has hit the ventilateur. I’m trying that out in French in honor of Frank. For the rest of us, that means the shit has hit the fan. Seems there’s an assassin war on the horizon, one Miko may factor into in an interesting way, and based on the final sentence of this book, holy merde, it’s already underway. And I can’t wait to see what Nicole Castle has in store for us next.
This series has quickly become an absolute favorite, what with its quirky characters and sharp dialogue and plenty of laughs to go along with the killer bits, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you’re looking for something just a little bit different and a lot cuckoo for cocoa puffs. I felt like this installment started off a little slowly, but it didn’t take too long to get moving, and once it did, it was another fun ride on the crazy train to Murdertown.
You can buy The Inauspicious List here: