Why The Kill Artist is in my Favourite First in Series collection:


The Gabriel Allon series kicks off with this book, and introduces us to the Mossad agent who would much rather be left alone to restore Renaissance paintings.


A conflicted character, Allon's motives are often exploited by his employers to their advantage, and it is easy to empathise with him.


What I like about this series is that, as it progresses, Silva develops the supporting cast bit by bit. One of my favourite characters is that of Julian XXX, an antiques dealer whose London shop provides an excellent front for the Israeli intelligence community.


In addition, the books explore the interactions between different countries' spying activities and the impact that these have on so-called allies.


The interludes in between the action often take place within European cities, with Allon's restoration work allowing Silva to provide readers with a little history of the spy's surroundings and beautiful settings without resorting to sounding like a tourist guide.