Like its predecessor, THE EXECUTION demonstrates Dick Wolf’s ability to craft a tightly-plotted, page-turning thriller – but it lacks the panache necessary to propel it above its ilk. A word of caution to the uninitiated reader: events here follow on directly from THE INTERCEPT – so if you haven’t read that, prepare to have the climax spoiled.
THE EXECUTION’s narrative unfolds methodically, following two parallel investigations that eventually coalesce – one lead by Mexican intelligence agent Cecelia Garza, another by Jeremy Fisk of the NYPD’s intel division. It begins with twenty-three beheaded bodies discovered on the US border – a methodology synonymous with the infamous assassin Chuparosa – and it’s soon revealed he might be planning to make a move against the Mexican President during United Nations Week in Manhattan. Fisk and Garza – adversaries at first – must overcome their differences and work together to stop Chuparosa’s plot. The novel features all the tropes of fashionable thrillers; snappy dialogue, short chapters, relentless pace. Thematically, it’s about revenge, and the various forms it can take – but thankfully Wolf’s prose doesn’t become too heavy-handed as he delves into its morality.
THE EXECUTION is a run-of-the-mill thriller, ultimately saved from mediocrity by its two climactic plot twists. Just like his first novel, THE EXECUTION left me wondering where Fisk’s story might go next. So despite my reservations, Wolf’s hooked me in for his third. He’s got all the ingredients to be a grandmaster of the genre; it’s surely only a matter of time until he fashions a masterwork.