By Chris Lynch (no website found)
Available now from Simon & Schuster BFYR
I will never forget the name Chris Lynch. INEXCUSABLE, published in 2005, was a National Book Award Finalist and one of YALSA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults. And I have yet to have anyone tell me something nice about INEXCUSABLE in person. So I've never particularly wanted to read that book, but I've been curious about Chris Lynch.
I couldn't resist the blurb for KILL SWITCH. You mention assassins and I am there. Of course, it also mentioned dementia. At this point I have to accept that books about dementia are going to keep coming my way and there's nothing I can do about it. Daniel never truly realizes how lucky he is that his grandfather is so coherent. The bad days may be coming, but it's a blessing to have any time between sanity and the bad days. Of course, he doesn't have a ton of time to stop and reflect since he and Da are in danger.
Da used to be a very bad man, a sort of black ops operative. And now that his mind is going he can no longer remember to keep his mouth shut. Thus, his old coworkers want to shush him. Daniel can't let that happen. The close relationship between Daniel and Da gives the spare, predictable plot life. Daniel struggles to understand the new things he's learning about his grandfather, which is something you can understand even if your loved ones aren't former assassins. When affairs are put to order, those affairs come to light.
The slim volume begins to go off the rails in the last third. Normal, shocked-by-the-offer-of-a-gun Daniel suddenly turns into a beatdown machine. Now, I'm not saying the events of the book might not push someone to violence. But Daniel goes extreme and he's good at it. Generally, beating the crap out of somebody takes a bit of practice. (Okay, so it's not that hard with a blunt weapon, but he does it once with his bare hands.)
KILL SWITCH didn't make me want to run out and buy INEXCUSABLE. It was a pleasant diversion, a clever merging of the family drama and action thriller genres. But it was a bit too abrupt to really get under my skin. And this is a story that needs to get under your skin.