I received a free download of the first version of School of the Assassins in July 2013, read it, loved it, and began a correspondence with the author W.K. Blais at that time. Dennis and our neighbour Rodger both thought it was a terrific read, as well. (Wendy also did me the honour of reading and reviewing Island in the Clouds at the same time.) Unfortunately, Wendy’s life became very busy, so we fell out of email contact before I set up Reading Recommendations. I was pleasantly surprised then a few weeks ago to see a new edition, with a new cover, of School of the Assassins being offered as a Goodreads Giveaway! Not only did I enter the contest (and once again made contact with Wendy, offering her promotion on my blog), but I won a print copy!!
I’m very pleased now to present to you, W.K. Blais!
What is your latest release and what genre is it? School of the Assassins – Fiction, International Action Thriller
Quick description: The Ghost Writer meets A History of Violence in this evocative thriller about a half-American, half-South African mercenary pitted against an international gauntlet of obstacles while seeking justice for his murdered and displaced family.
When rebel Govan Seme kills Pieter Durant’s widowed American mother during an invasion of their South African farm, Pieter vows to avenge her murder and recapture his farm. But his younger sister, Jessie, is about to leave for America to attend her freshman year at Princeton, and he must shoulder her tuition costs. The twenty-one-year-old farmer joins the exodus of South African mercenaries heading to Iraq in 2007 for lucrative private security jobs. When an injury forces a visit to Los Angeles three years later, to the home of his American relatives, Pieter shortly finds himself the catalyst of a crime-syndicate coup. The FBI sting that follows, along with the faith of his American lover, provide the unexpected keys that finally free him for his quest—and his most arduous challenge yet.
School of the Assassins forges the classic elements of L.A. crime fiction with the political intrigue of an international action thriller. Stunning in scope and studded with realism, this novel examines the new privatization of war . . . amidst the ever-expanding proving grounds of the 21st century.
From my review on Goodreads: This is a fast-paced, well-written book, telling an original story with a main character I cared about and wanted to see win in the end . . . “School of Assassins” did not disappoint at all. Blais gripped me right from the beginning and I literally could not stop until I’d finished reading the entire book. Very, very good!
I grew up mostly in Los Angeles except for two years spent in Guadalajara, Mexico. I am an Air Force veteran, Honor Guard member and was captain of my flight in Officer Training School. After the Air Force, I used the G.I. Bill to earn a degree in Computer Science and worked as a software engineer for the Department of Defense. My early novels, White Trash and Croutons, were published under the pen name Katie Carothers by an imprint of Red Hen Press in 1995 and taught in literature classes at UCLA and four community colleges. My nonfiction articles have appeared in The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Oxygen, Senior, L.A. Fitness and Hearing Health. I am an avid marine aquarium hobbyist, have two adult children and live with my husband Roger in Los Angeles.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a sequel to School of the Assassins, Arc of the Assassins.
W.K. Blais’s reading recommendation:
I recently read The Son, by Philipp Meyer and loved it!