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Jonathan Harries
The Tailor of Riga
I had absolutely no intention of getting into the family business. As I told my father the night he enlightened me on what my ancestors had been up to for over a thousand years, “Sticking a curved dagger into someone’s liver ain’t quite my cup of tea.” As it turned out, I had no choice. When your family’s been assassinating reprobates and other loathsome individuals for seventy generations, you have a certain obligation. So, while it was a little disconcerting to hear how dear old granny would have become a prostitute if Grandpa Joe hadn’t whacked one of Germany’s top agents just before the start of World War I, it certainly piqued my interest. Of course, as I discovered, prostitution and murder were pretty de rigueur for my family. After all, it was my great-grandfather who was hired by the British secret service to kill Jack the Ripper and my mother’s cousins who took part in the attempted assassination of Lenin. My only regret when I finally took up the family sica was not eliminating Jean-Bedel Bokassa just before he crowned himself Emperor of the Central African Empire and ate my two friends. But we all make mistakes.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.25 out of 10


Plot/Idea: The Tailor of Riga tells an explosive tale of a family of Jewish assassins throughout history, shifting from one generation’s adventurous exploits to the next.

Prose: The characters' speech suitably reflects the novel's era and local dialect, and Harries's prose elevates the story with a clear picture of time and place.

Originality: This generational tale of assassins stretching back 70 generations places its characters in some of history’s most eventful times and is filled with copious amounts of intrigue, adventure, history, and romance.

Character/Execution: Abram Isakowitsch, the eldest Isakowitsch family member, is a clever, fascinating individual whose traits are passed down through the generations. Villains like Jack the Ripper prove difficult opponents, even for this immensely skilled family of assassins.

Blurb: This action-packed, globe-trotting tale following several generations of a family of Jewish assassins will keep readers spellbound until the last page.

Date Submitted: April 20, 2023