The Fifth Assassin



  • The fifth assassin [sound recording] / Brad Meltzer.


Publication Info

  • New York : Hachette Audio, p2013.



  • Unabridged.
  • Compact discs.



  • 9781600247064 : $34.99


  • 9781600247064


  • 12 sound discs (ca. 14 hr.) :

Additional Contributors


5Q, 4P

Reader’s Annotation

While investigating the murders of ministers, Beecher White, archivist and member of the Culper Ring, discovers a connection between these crimes and the four successful presidential assassins of history. Can he find the fifth assassin before it’s too late?


Throughout American history, only four of about a dozen would-be presidential assassins have succeeded in their goal. Separated by time, they appear to have been lone wolf operators. That is, until Beecher White and the Culper Ring discover evidence of a conspiracy that spans the centuries. Clues found at the scenes of attacks on D. C. pastors recall each of the four historical presidential assassinations. Beecher and his colleagues must find out who is behind the attacks and what the ultimate plan is. Complicating the investigation is the appearance of old friends with hidden agendas and complex emotional entanglements. Beecher races the clock to sort it all out and find The Fifth Assassin.


The Fifth Assassin is the second novel in the Inner Circle series by Brad Meltzer. This novel strikes a great balance between action and suspense. Some scenes are adrenaline-loaded, but time is taken for thorough investigation and the building of suspense. Current scenes are interspersed with flashbacks that weave together to build a strong background for major characters. Prominent characters are well-developed, but others are purposely left in shadow to heighten the mystery. This is a great story for history lovers, and suspense and conspiracy buffs. Fans of the National Treasure movies will also enjoy this series.

The audio book is narrated by Scott Brick who has narrated several more of Meltzer’s novels, and has also narrated for novelists Nelson DeMille and Preston and Child. He has a strong, rich voice for easy listening; however, he did not “do characters” with variation of voice. This made it difficult at times to determine who was speaking, especially with the complex plotting of the novel.


Visit the author’s website at

Huffington Post interview: Interview



USA Today



Suspense; mystery

Appeal Factors

Political conspiracy; historical tie-ins; great suspense


The Camel Club, by David Baldacci. In The Fifth Assassin, a secret society exists to protect the office of the President. In The Camel Club, a secret society exists to protect American democracy. Both are suspense novels with conspiracy theories.

The Templar Legacy, by Steve Berry. Both books deal with conspiracies with historical ties. Both lead characters are as much history buffs as they are action heroes.

Hidden Order, by Brad Thor. Hidden Order is a political thriller with hidden conspiracies. It also contains historical details.

Booktalk Ideas

A booktalk could focus on the two secret societies, the Culper Ring and the Knights of the Golden Circle, ending with their current agents and conflict.

Discussion Questions

How does Beecher’s history with Marshall affect his judgment? In the long run, do you think he is right about Marshall?

Do you think medical experiments made Nico what he was, or was it something else?

The book states that the Culper Ring exists to protect the presidency, while the Secret Service protects the President. What is the difference? Do you think a secret society like this is a good idea, or is it problematic? Why?

Why I Chose It

My library director had chosen a Brad Meltzer book for a staff pick, and she does not usually read fiction, so I decided to try him. I am a fan of the National Treasure movies, and this book had some similar elements. We did not have the first of the series on audio book.


Beecher White; Tot; Culper Ring; Presidential assassins


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