Behind every killing, the saying goes, there is an anonymous mastermind. This person works behind the scenes, in the shadows. That’s the premise of The Plotters.
Novelist Un-su Kim, also known as the Korean Henning Mankell, has written a gripping crime novel set in an alternate Seoul, where assassination guilds compete for market dominance.
The best bit about the work is the plotter, a mastermind who working in the shadows. Then there is an assassin, who never questions anything: where to go, who to kill, or why his home was filled with books that no one ever read.
However, Reseng is not your typical assassin. In-between scouting out his next victim and sourcing information about how best to dispose of them, he reads books that are otherwise never opened.
At a personal crossroads
The Plotters begins with Reseng on the job and at a personal crossroads. He spies on his latest target, a high-ranking military officer, from the cover of a forest behind the man’s cottage.
The assassin watches the guy play with his own prized loyal hunter, a handsome and fearsome mastiff who chases down thrown toys and retrieves them for his master without ever wondering why they were thrown.
There’s a lively gallows humor in the book and scenes where Reseng pays regular visits to the man who cremates gang-war victims, and he casually slices off one man’s fingers as coolly as you might make a salad.
The Plotters is gripping yes but it a deeply entertaining thriller that has both wit and lyricism. Go for it.
Ahmad Nazir is a UAE-based freelancer writer