If you find the ongoing violence in the Middle East both troubling and disturbingly fascinating, you might want to explore Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series. Allon is an art restorer, whose skill is in such demand that he is able to pick and choose his projects. He is also a former member of the Mossad hit squad that killed Black September members in revenge for their attacks on Israelis. Allon has left that life however, following the death of his wife and child at the hands of terrorists. He has found that revenge does not cure him and violence only leads to further violence. In The Kill Artist, Allon unwillingly returns to this world of shadowy death at the behest of his former colleagues, who are trying to prevent the assassination of Yassir Arafat by a Palestinian who is trying to disrupt the peace process.
Silva is a master of the espionage thriller, and the cinematic construction of the stories moves them along at a fast pace. However, he never sacrifices character for action in these novels. The complex motivations of the characters on both sides are clearly drawn, and there are no cardboard villains here. Silva uses the backdrop of the Middle East to explore issues of violence and revenge. The settings in Israel and across Europe all ring true, and add to the verisimilitude of the stories. There may not be answers here, but Silva compels us to at least consider the questions.