by John Twelve Hawks
Our narrator, Jacob Underwood, is an assassin. He believes that he has undergone a "transformation," which has left him emotionless, unable to feel any sense of attachment to the world. He believes that the essence of a person is their "spark" and their body is the shell that houses it. He believes that most people's spark is closely connected to their shell, but because of his transformation, his is not.
Jacob is given the assignment by his handlers to find Emily Holquist, a missing employee from a multinational bank. As he hunts Emily down, he learns that she possesses information about illegal transactions being conducted by her bank.
As his pursuit takes him around the world, we're given periodic flashbacks into his past and we learn early on that Jacob was not the subject of a medical procedure that transformed him into the emotionless being that he is today, but instead he's autistic. What he remembers as his transformation was in fact a severe motorcycle accident that he was involved in and which amplified his autistic tendencies exponentially.
John Twelve Hawks (whoever he really is) made a name for himself with his "Traveler" trilogy a few years ago. Those books started out with a bang, but by the end had become unnecessarily convoluted and ended up concluding with a whimper. Spark takes a simpler approach to the themes JTH introduced in those earlier books and the result is a strong, solid story that is entertaining and engaging.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆