his latest novel, The Kill List, Frederick Forsyth
has come full circle. He returns to the formula that made
him a classic political thriller writer, using his journalistic
instincts to make his stories relevant and realistic.
The reader can draw upon similarities between his first novel,
The Day of the Jackal, and his latest, The Kill
List. Both books were influenced by real life events.
The Jackal is hired to kill French President Charles De Gaulle
while President Obama chooses which terrorists shall live
and which shall die from "a kill list." Both books
go into great detail about the worldwide hunt for the antagonist.
The intense plot of The Kill List has ex-Marine,
special operative Kit Carson, whose alias is "The Tracker,"
assigned to hunt down and kill an Islamist extremist known
as "The Preacher." This terrorist was put on "the
kill list" after he radicalized a number of Muslims in
the US and England to carry out assassinations, one of which
was Carson's father, a retired Marine General. What makes
the task even more difficult is that the identification and
location of The Preacher is hidden in a morass of intricate
computer defenses. Among those who are recruited to help find
the terrorist are a teen-age boy with Asperger's syndrome,
an expert in the use of computers, and an Israeli agent imbedded
It appears that Forsyth wanted to give a heads up to those
Marines who were killed in the US bombing in Lebanon in 1983.
He stated, "This Hezbollah fanatic drove a truck into
the US Marine barracks, causing a horrendous explosion. A
Marine witness kept saying about the Arab terrorist, 'he was
smiling.' I believe this was the first time that the West
got an inkling of the mindset of these Jihadists. They are
happy to go because they have either been convinced or convinced
themselves that they are going into paradise. I made my hero
a US Marine Colonel, a patriotic man who fought for his country
in the Special Forces. He has now become a man hunter of a
vicious killer. My model for the antagonist was the Islamic
cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, who preached violent jihad on the
Internet, and was killed in a drone strike."
Another interesting fact is the relevancy of a quote from
The Day of the Jackal, "A fanatic prepared to
die himself in the attempt is always the most certain method
" Readers should remember this book
was first published in 1971, thirty years before 9/11. The
author seems to make the point in The Kill List when he writes,
"Then came 9/11 and the West woke-up at last."
Forsyth explained, "I have been accused of seeing the
future. But people forget that 9/11 was not the beginning.
Al Qaeda was working against the US eight years before. There
were the two lethal bombings in Africa in 1998, the virtual
destruction of the USS Cole, and the bombings in Saudi Arabia.
Within this period the US did not wake up. It appeared the
forces that be were asleep."
Forsyth has meticulously researched his book. It is strong
on insider knowledge about the military, high tech espionage,
the existence of a government agency, Technical Operations
Support Activity (TOSA), and the thinking of terrorists. Since
he started writing this book three years ago, it appears he
was aware of information before it became public. Anyone paranoid
about Edwin Snowden's revelations should read this book because
the author explains in detail about the secret government
organization, TOSA, whose job is to find and eliminate terrorists
on "the kill list," and how easy it is to infiltrate
a computer system. A quote from the book, "It took forty-five
minutes for the entire database to be sucked out and "imaged"
into the duplicate, then put back without leaving any trace."
He also gave a heads up that the latest book will be made
into a Hollywood movie. Unfortunately, he loses all creative
control so it will be left up to the writer and director to
decide how the plot will be implemented.
The Kill List shows how governments use all means
available to win the war on terrorism and hunt down the jihadists.
It contains topical issues that face the US and England today.
Through a very entertaining story, Forsyth is able to give
details of the processes, organizations, and equipment needed
to find the terrorists.