Author Name: Glen Barrera
Book Title: The Assassin Who Couldn’t Dance
Genre and Sub-Genre: Thriller/Action
Book Content Rating: Adult (18+) Language and Violence
Glen, a former partner in a real estate appraisal company, who still takes appraisal assignments from time to time, now writes. Over the years he’s edited a company newsletter, written short stories (one a contest winner) and poetry. It wasn’t until he divorced a few years ago, however, that he finally found time to take a writing course while working on his first novel. The Assassin Who Couldn’t Dance and a follow-up novel, A Capable and Wide Revenge (now available), were tutored by Michael Mirolla, a published Canadian writer. He is now working on a third novel with the working title, Sweet Peach. Glen grew up in Chicago, with college at Western Illinois University, College of DuPage and the University of Illinois, Chicago. He studied Isshinryu Karate for fourteen years, sailed for seven years out of Burnham Harbor, practices Tai Chi and plays classical guitar. A Chicago boy at heart, he now lives in a western suburb.
Blue-eyed Hector Munoz (his present name) is fluent in five languages, can kill a man a hundred different ways and yet, at twenty-three had learned almost nothing about life and love. His father and brother were brutally murdered by corrupt U.S. military officers when he was seven. The teacher, a close friend of his father, took control of the boy’s life, as well as the future debt to be paid. Now, after years of rigorous training, the assassin is judged ready. But is he?
The plan to draw out the officers has been set into motion. Hector has only to illegally cross the border from Mexico and retrieve keys to safe deposit boxes containing eight-million dollars and incriminating documents before the officers can respond. It shouldn’t be a problem. But then Hector’s plan didn’t include Mexican bandits; ruthless mercenaries also after the keys and led by a sadistic cowboy; or a sleazy Chicago mob figure. Things get more complicated for him when a third party joins the search for the keys, the crazed leader of a militia group with a secret room in his basement reserved for “guests” – and then falling in love with an escaped guest, Lucy. Hector also didn’t realize that the mercenaries’ target, an ex-Force Recon team holding the keys and the last four men to see his father alive, were far from old and rusty.
In the race for the keys, Hector must confront the emotional emptiness in his life that he wasn’t allowed to experience in his quest for vengeance. With time running out, he is forced to make a choice: follow the assassination plan or ally with the surviving recon team, their families, and Lucy before they are eliminated; and, maybe discover who he really is.
By Mark Fine on February 25, 2015
Boy, did I enjoy this book! With an ensemble cast–so vividly drawn (both heroes and villains alike) that I experienced none of the character confusion that plague similar character-loaded books. The fascinating folks that populated this story were tracked so well, and the layers of plotlines were so satisfyingly concluded, that I offer my kudos to author Glen Barrera for a well-crafted and satisfying thriller. The plot spun along at a rat-a-tat pace, bouncing between different locations–again with utmost clarity. Again Mr. Barrera did not disappoint.
Alongside the intense action sequences (though never gratuitous) there was still room for some wry humor, combat buddy-buddy comradery, true friendship and betrayal, and even a touch of romance. “The Assassin Who Couldn’t Dance…” read with the vigor of a cinematically entertaining script as my mind’s eye was filled dynamic imagery. I’m sure looking forward to reading the further adventures of Hector, Lucy and others in future works by this talented author.
By Ulla Hon May 29, 2015
Barrera’s fluent and highly readable writing quickly pulled me into the story; fast moving from the very start. The main character, Hector, was only seven when his father and brother were brutally murdered by corrupt US military officers. After sixteen years of rigorous training by a friend of his father, Hector is considered a full-fledged assassin. He illegally crosses the border from Mexico into the US, intent on finding keys and codes to safe deposit boxes containing cash, diamonds and documents exposing corrupt US military personnel. Simultaneously, other key characters are introduced in another location, and at first I found it a bit difficult to keep track of them, so I slowed down, took my time to get to know them, and it was well worth it. The character of Hector as an assassin is unique, but all the other key characters are equally well crafted and seem so real I almost felt I could touch and hear them. I became involved with their stories and cared about what would happen to them. Barrera also did a fantastic job creating brilliantly evil villains. The story, layered with plotlines moving between different locations in the US, include war crimes, corruption, betrayal and a little romance. It unfolds extremely well, and never gets bogged down in irrelevant material. In the end, Hector, trained to kill, never exposed to a normal life, confronts the emotional emptiness in his life, and slowly allows Lucy to teach him how to dance. I highly recommend this book.
By Elizabeth Horton-Newton, Author on August 24, 2015
Writing a sequel to a well-received book is a challenge and Glen Barrera rises to meet the test with a winner. In “A Capable and Wide Revenge” he follows the continuing experiences of his wonderful characters from “The Assassin Who Couldn’t Dance”. Although the characters are familiar from the earlier book, this book stands quite well on its own. Once again former US soldiers, joined by Hector the “assassin” from the first book, are faced with corruption and sadistic enemies who will stop at nothing to achieve their evil goals. Contrasting beautifully with the tightly knit group led by Gil Scott and his Leary Group and Hector Munoz the “assassin”, are greedy and ruthless soldiers and politicians. Exposing the sordid underbelly of world politics Barrera takes the reader on a wild ride through the streets of Baghdad to Miami and Wisconsin while bullets fly and bombs explode. Introducing new and vibrant characters, some good and some very bad, Barrera manages to keep the action realistic. At moments the story is heart breaking. In other parts the action is gritty and visceral raising the tension to a nail biting level. The women in this story are no wilting flowers. Courageous and tough, they also reveal softer and often humorous sides when needed. Throughout the book Barerra subtly addresses the issue of international computer dating and the desperation of those who become involved in the lurid practice. As much a cautionary tale as a heart racing adventure, “A Capable and Wide Revenge” is exactly what the title proclaims. All in all this is a well-developed story that held my attention.