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Books by David Liss

The Ethical Assassin: Note
A New York Times Notable Book

Some readers, I know, were disappointed that this novel is a break from what I’ve done in the past. I’m lucky enough to have a publisher that has consistently encouraged me to write what I want to write when I want to write it. What I wanted to write, when I sat down to begin the novel that turned into The Ethical Assassin, was a contemporary dark-comic thriller. So that’s what I did. I hope to write other novels of this sort again someday. However, as much as I enjoyed working on this book, I also found that when I was done, I was eager to get back to something historical.  And I’ve done that.

The reaction to this novel, to put it euphemistically, was mixed.  I received many good reviews, and there have been numerous kind notes from readers of the historical novels as well as those who don’t read historical fiction.  On the other hand, I also received more bad reviews than I’m used to, and there’s been some hate mail as well.  Novels that center around controversial issues are bound to produce these sort of reactions, and I knew what I was getting into when I wrote the book.  On the other hand, there are some things you can’t predict, like the time I appeared on a morning television show to discuss animal rights, and my segment followed one on clever recipes for your leftover Popeye’s fried chicken. 

I don’t consider The Ethical Assassin to be an animal rights screed, and I no more advocate violence in the name of animal right than, say, Thomas Harris advocates cannibalism in Silence of the Lambs.  When I sat down to do the research for this novel, I vowed to maintain an open mind and go where the facts wanted to take me.  As it turns out, the truth has an animal rights bias.  In the end, however, what I wanted to write was a fun novel that would work regardless of the reader’s position on the key issues within.  I’ll count on you to let me know if you think I’ve succeeded.

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