The Swiss Assassin
by Ian McKinley
Peter Villiger is Swiss, a Somali refugee who appears to be an independently wealthy and well-travelled author. This hides his true role as a high-tech hitman working for a secretive, UN-sponsored organisation targeting terrorists and warlords that international law has failed to either control or punish. With biomimetic drones and tailored toxins as the tools of his trade, he has flexibility to make punishment fit the crimes involved – with assassinations documented in videos that strike fear into those who previously considered themselves above the law. The challenges change when the list of targets is suddenly expanded to include white-collar criminals who, although not personally involved in killings, are responsible for huge numbers of deaths through fomenting and arming conflicts. Unlike the war zones of past assassinations, Peter is now operating in the luxurious, decadent microcosms in which the mega-rich live, remote from the multitudes suffering from accelerating climate change.
His wife and her hedonistic twin sister accompany him on apparently straightforward operation in Bali, which unexpected uncovers a global conspiracy to facilitate and benefit from environmental degradation. With the help of the sisters, Peter finds that this threat has links to the very highest level of his own organisation, with a trail leading to the Seychelles and a meeting of the upper echelons of a cabal with the power to influence the tipping points that control socioeconomic change. As his employer is compromised, Peter solicits the support of a local intelligence agency for the key job of hacking a database in Switzerland, which will provide the only possible way of stopping this nefarious plan. With the help of his sister-in-law, the Swiss coordinate a response to the threat at UN level, freeing Peter to take over the job of assassinating all of the remaining key conspirators. The question is, can this be done without actually catalysing a pre-programmed apocalypse?
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Hard science fiction near future environmental apocalypse
Ian McKinley is a Scot, living in Switzerland and spending much of his time in Japan. A professional scientist and fan of all forms of science fiction in books, comics and movies, he decided at the turn of the century to extend from writing text books and technical papers to the new challenges of fiction. Writing occurs mainly during long vacations spent diving, skiing and exploring exotic locations, which provide inspiration and settings for his books.
He writes novels set in the middle of this century, major social and environmental changes along with rapidly developing technology forming the backdrop for action thrillers written for a mature audience. The characters play a central role, tacitly establishing the cultural changes resulting from increasing sexual permissiveness and growth in the power of mega-corporations at the expense of national governments. As Ian has a wide overview of the most recent developments in science and technology, the future worlds described are credible and, given their generally dystopic nature, maybe worryingly so.