Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

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A Different Lie

Columbus, the hit man known as the Silver Bear in Derek Haas's Assassin trilogy, is back in A Different Lie, juggling work, life as a husband, and being a father to his three-year-old son. Conveniently, his wife, Risina, is also his fence, the liaison between client and assassin. Columbus is employed by the "dark men," shadowy figures in the U.S. government, and his latest assignment is to take out the young hotshot assassin Castillo.

Though Columbus is famous for pulling off hits deemed impossible by most, he soon realizes he's more than met his match with Castillo. It's like going up against himself, for Castillo has even studied Columbus's methods. And Columbus, with a wife and kid, has vulnerabilities, while Castillo has nothing to lose.

A protagonist is only as strong as his opponent, and Columbus and Castillo are a formidable pair. A screenwriter for movies such as Wanted and 3:10 to Yuma, Haas keeps the action flying while deftly juxtaposing Columbus's work with the realities of his home life. The assassin is seconds away from taking out a target when he learns his pregnant wife's water has broken. While he's on another assignment, Risina calls to say "I love you," adding, "Kill this man so you can come home to us." The duality makes him an accessible antihero; when he comes to a difficult decision at the end, he's not doing it as the infamous Silver Bear but as just a regular dad. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd