by Robin Burcell
Release Date: December 31st, 2013
Ebook Edition; 416 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Suspense
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
What you don't know can kill you . . .
FBI Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick knows nothing about the Devil's Key, except that her father was involved in its theft twenty years ago and was murdered as a result. The Devil's Key, a list of seemingly random, supposedly indecipherable numbers, poses an immediate threat to national security—and anyone caught with this code in their possession is terminated with extreme prejudice. Sydney, unaware of the standing kill order, only just recovered the list and turned it over to her superiors—but not before making a copy.
What you do know can kill you . . .
This is the fifth book in the Sydney Fitzpatrick series and I have to be honest and admit that it was probably my least favourite of the series to this point. I just got extremely frustrated over some of the plot points and some of the naivety shown by members of what is supposed to be a team of crack intelligence officers.
As usual, the banter between the team members was always one of the things that drew me to Ms. Burcell's novels. The author is a forensically trained FBI agent herself and it's very obvious in her writing and in the way she usually handles her agents. And by that, I mean the psychological and physical aspects of the agents in the novels and the dangers they constantly put themselves in do take their toll, and I've always been glad that that's an aspect that plays an important part in these novels. This is clearly evident in the relationship between Sydney and Griffin as they deal with the repercussions of a previous novel in this one, although I don't think it really went far enough. Sydney should be full of anger towards Griffin, and although I know it's a job, there has to be some deeper feelings involved and I really didn't feel that in this novel like in previous novels. The character development was lacking somewhat and I didn't really feel like any of the characters grew or learned in this novel. I realize the time period was short, and there was a lot happening, but I tried putting myself in a position of someone who was new to these novels and I don't think the connections between reader and character were really there.
Piper was a fresh addition to this novel though. She happened to witness a murder and being someone who has a photographic (eidetic) memory, and as she happened to also carry an important set of numbers the FBI, CIA, and anyone connected to the government would kill to get their hands on, she needed to be protected. She was brash, sassy, and vulnerable all in one and I really enjoyed her character; she was a breath of fresh air amidst all the politicking and I looked forward to her scenes as it felt like all the other stuff just dragged and slowed down the novel, but she was funny.
As for the plot, it was interesting, but it's been done before. You know, get a small group of agents, have a secret code that everyone needs to get their hands on, have one person high up in the government who is evil but the agents do not know about, get the head of the agents fired, and agents save the day. One of the aspects of this novel though, is the postscript written by the author which you should read as it's a bit scary and it does make you look at technology a little bit differently. However, it took such a long time for the team of agents to realize they were being tracked and considering what they were up against, and knowing the intelligence amongst them, it really should not have taken that long to figure out - just one of the little things that drove me crazy.
The Kill Order is one of those novels that I read just to find out exactly what the fuss over those numbers finally meant. I enjoyed the other novels in this series very much, and while this one is definitely not my favourite, I am not ready to give up on this series yet. I still enjoy Griffin and Sydney, and am curious as to how their relationship will develop, and I love the banter amongst the agents. And while the plot was somewhat slower than previous novels, there were still flashes and points that were quite interesting and captured my attention. If you are new to this series, I do not recommend starting with this novel, as there are points and references to previous novels that can be confusing if you are not familiar with them.