Angel is the Cartel del Noreste’s most skilled assassin. When her latest hit takes her north of the Mexican border, she finds herself involved in the cover up of a large medical malpractice scam put together by an arrogant surgeon. With a detective on her tail, a self-destructive party-hound as her target, and a neo-Nazi CEO as her employer, Angel quickly discovers that what seemed like a simple hit might be her most dangerous endeavor yet.
Despite ASESINA’s description, Angel is not the novel’s main character. The book’s chapters are split between many different points of view (lawyers, doctors, cops, businessmen, etc.). The variety of characters is exciting. However, Angel’s adventures make up a disappointingly small fraction of ASESINA’s story. The characters that author Craig Keffeler highlights do a good job of enhancing the book’s overall plot, but it’s split between so many perspectives that the characters themselves (especially Angel) don’t get enough development to be truly engaging.
What is well-developed is the research that Keffeler has poured into ASESINA. His descriptions of setting are richly detailed, his knowledge of weaponry and security devices is thorough, and his understanding of the healthcare system is clearly backed by his experience as a former healthcare executive. Likewise, Keffeler’s use of Spanish and street slang gives his prose added flair. Keffeler’s mastery of setting is apparent in every scene he writes, no matter what side of the Mexico–United States border his characters are on.
The central plot of ASESINA is also well-planned. Unfortunately, a good outline doesn’t always guarantee a gripping read. While the bones of ASESINA’s story are solid and there are plenty of opportunities for Keffeler to sow conflict between characters throughout the book, a small handful of unsatisfactory plot lines and a lackluster ending might leave readers feeling unimpressed. It’s nice when authors leave a novel open for a potential sequel, but a lack of a strong resolution prevents ASESINA from reaching its full potential.
ASESINA is a book worth reading and Craig Keffeler has created a well-structured plot and an intriguing cast of characters–a good start that will hopefully lead to a more thrilling continuation in his next novel.
~Stephani Hren for IndieReader