Time travel, assassins, the Mafia and old Hollywood glamour? Yes, please!
Assassin 13 by Tom Reppert is a time travel thriller set in a dystopian future and 1927 Hollywood. Lauren Ramirez, an Assassin 13, which means she’s the best at her profession, is betrayed by her employer, the President of the United States, when she takes a high-rank target job to get information on her mother’s killer. While she’s attempting to escape in a space shuttle from his trap, she hurtles through a time displacement anomaly and lands in the glam of 1927 Hollywood.
Lauren finds herself working for one of Hollywood’s top actresses, Pauline Windsor, who is dating mafia member Benny Sorrentino. He is caught up in a gangland war with the Colombini brothers for the city’s profitable bootlegging and gambling rings. Even as she clings to the revenge for her mother’s death and somehow fixing her broken shuttle to return for the information, Lauren’s relationship with the people she meets, stunt pilot Remy Garnett, Pauline, and Pauline’s children, all begin to change the hard surface of her heart.
When Pauline’s relationship with Sorrentino draws her and her family into the gangland war, Lauren must decide whether to use her 22nd century talents and technology in their defense or abandon them to slip back into her time and get the information she needs to avenge her mother.
There are a few things you should know about me. I love gangster stories and am particularly intrigued by the Italian Mafia. One of my favourite TV series ever is The Sopranos. I took a module on silent film while at university and have had a soft spot for that era, especially the 20s, ever since. Can you understand why I would be drawn to this book?
What I liked most about this book was that it still offered a relatable world. I do like a good dystopian novel but it is a genre I am relatively new too and sometimes the imagination of the author doesn’t work for me. By having the ‘past’ as an era many readers will be familiar with through popular culture, I felt more in tune with the story. In fact, there actually wasn’t a huge amount of the book based on 2119 but it offered all the elements that a dystopian fan would want.
But that was not why I liked 2119. I liked it because it served as a warning to us that there is much worse level certain elements of life could spiral too: corrupt politicians and the media and corporations ruling the roost. I also liked that the general futuristic era was extremely advanced in terms of technology, but almost seemed underdeveloped in comparison to today (Lauren starts as part of a travelling circus and horses and carts are mentioned as means of transport in the opening chapters).
Reppert touched on points from the 20s that are still (unfortunately) very relevant today. One point was how women were sexually treated in Hollywood in the past and there is one scene where an industry big shot tries to force himself on a young women and it becomes apparent that he expects sexual favours from women. Sound familiar?
The other main element of this book I want to talk about is Lauren. When I first met the younger Lauren and found out what she went through I knew she would be a strong character. Still, I am not sure if I really liked her. She was fearless, brave and a complete badass but relatively unlikable. As the story progresses we do see a softer side to Lauren and I was satisfied with how her story ended but I never really took her to my heart. I found myself liking Pauline more and that frustrated me, reasons why you will find out when you read the story.
Overall, a great book and one I would certainly recommend. Assassin 13 will definitely have me looking more into Tom Reppert’s other work.
I was sent a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Tom Reppert is an army veteran with a BA in English and History, as well as MAs in Creative Writing and Professional Writing. He spent twelve years in Africa and Asia teaching English Literature and Composition. An award-winning author, his writing includes educational essays, short stories, and novels Past Murders, The Far Journey, and The Captured Girl. Tom lives in Sandpoint, Idaho on idyllic Lake Pend Oreille, where he is currently working on his next novel, one set both in the future and the past.
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