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The Silver Bear (Silver Bear #1)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  350 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
A hitman isn't allowed to have a life...

He calls himself Columbus. Some call him the Silver Bear. All know him as one of the deadliest assassins in the world.

Now, as he tracks a powerful politician with presidential aspirations, the fragmented pieces of his own life begin to point to a terrible truth that will unmake everything he is, tear apart the shadowy, criminal wor
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by Jove (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 20, 2012 Larry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a sub-strata of books about professional hit men. Lawrence Block, Kevin Wignall, and Tom Hinshelwood (now Tom Wood at the request of his publisher) each have created interesting books about hit men. Wood's may be the best, but all are interesting. Derek Haas clearly writes as well as any of the others, maybe even better, but he has produced a protagonist who inspires shudders rather than respect. How can a reader respect a hit man? In addition to a suspenseful setting (not just a shooti ...more
Thomas Higgins
First the good: this is a well-written, quick moving thriller. I enjoyed the writing style and character development. The book is a fast read. Took me all of a few bus rides to work to finish it. The story and back story of Columbus, the assassin, flowed well.

Frankly though, since the rise and fall of Tony Soprano, there have been too many "sociopaths as 'good guys'" stories and I'm tired of it. I can get behind the "good guy" who has to do bad things to achieve a noble end, or even the "good g
Mar 11, 2010 Bridget rated it it was amazing
Columbus has a natural talent as a killer. It is instinct for Columbus, a way of life. Even with his first hit he proved himself more than capable of getting the job done. When a gun doesn't do the job, he can use whatever prop comes his way. If there isn't anything readily available, he will happily kill with his bare hands.

His latest assignment isn't quite going the way he has planned. When Columbus finds himself drowning in a pool of secrets, he begins to question the path he has chosen in li
Dr T
Jun 25, 2017 Dr T rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining and engrossing thriller. The Silver Bear is a term for a particularly adept assassin, one who can carry out essentially any assignment, no matter what impediments or complications arise. Columbus is a Silver Bear, and he is given the assignment of assassinating a Congressman and probable Presidential Candidate. The process he goes through to accomplish this are amazingly thorough and detailed. The book, although fairly short, is muddied by all of the flashbacks to past exploits, ...more
The story delivers on the opening line of its book jacket: "Delve into the mind of an assassin - in this chilling psychological portrait of a hit man, as h stalks his prey from Boston to Los Angeles."
On his cross country journey for his next job, professional killer Columbus finds his normal ability to stay wholly in the present is challenged by the identity of his latest target. The flashbacks help determine how he got to the point where he is one of the tops in his profession. While it was har
I'm reviewing something different today. I saw a promotional tweet for the ebook version of The Assassin Trilogy by Derek Haas as a good book for Father's Day. I read the description and was intrigued, so I thought I'd try the first book and see if I liked it. It's not a very long book - slightly more than 200 pages - so it was a good choice for a read-a-thon, plus I've been meaning to get some thrillers to balance out the YA romance (it gets predictable after a while).

Columbus is a professional
Elizabeth Robinson
Columbus was trained as an assassin after being orphaned, placed in terrible foster homes, and serving a term in juvenile detention. Recruited as a teenager, he is expert in many methods of killing and is at the top of his profession--a Silver Bear. He now faces a more challenging assignment, to kill a U.S. Senator on the campaign trail for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Unusual complications arise, and Columbus discovers surprising things about himself and those around him as he follow ...more
Sep 16, 2011 CC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A super taut thriller by writer Derek Haas about a professional assassin named Columbus. When Columbus gets his packet of information on his latest hit, he discovers it is his own father, whom he never knew, politician Abe Mann. Much like Lee Child's Jack Reacher, Columbus has no attachments and works violently and with no remorse -- unlike Lee Child's Jack Reacher, this book was interesting.

The book flips back and forth from the present-day mission of killing his father to his past of how he b
Jul 18, 2015 Zade rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Silver Bear is a reasonably entertaining assassin thriller. The narrator lacks the charm of John Rain or the Grey Man, but the story is interesting enough and moves along quickly. One aspect I found particularly positive is that Haas makes very clear the connection between child abuse and adult criminality. Although we all know that society makes its own monsters, it's always good to have that message reiterated in a context in which it may reach new ears. Haas also shows the flip side of th ...more
Nov 04, 2010 Zare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Columbus (called for his proficiency Silver Bear) is a professional hitman. Unlike Rain (another famous book character) he is not semi-official assassin (he is not extensively used by this or that government agency). He is a cold blooded professional working for whoever can pay him, made ruthless by his very occupation were trust means betrayal and where affection means Achilles heel. He is not a positive guy he is very negative, sometimes even madly violent man. But he has an avenger-like atti ...more
Nov 06, 2011 Doris rated it liked it
It flipped too much between the present and the past in an unsuccessful attempt to self-justify the murderous assassin. I kept waiting for it to get better, or perhaps I should say for the killer to get better, but it never did. It never really justified or explained how a lonely kid went from being a kid that just fell through the cracks to a sociopath killer. I think it was trying to blame that on heritage, because although his upbringing wasn't the best it wasn't the worst. His last couple of ...more
Jim A
Feb 05, 2013 Jim A rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Derek Haas' prose in the telling of this story. Haas does a good job of keeping the story interesting, both in the here and now and with the main character's back story intermingled.

The main character, Columbus, is really not very likeable and has no real redeeming features or values. He's just a killer. In this story he has been hired to kill a politician who happens to be Columbus' father.

There are several authors who do stories on assassins/hit men and tell a better tale tha
Christopher Valin
I was finally able to read this book while on vacation. I can't compare this to other books of the genre (like many of the reviews I've read) because I don't usually read these types of books--I read it because I'm a fan of Haas' writing for films such as 3:10 to Yuma and Wanted. All I know is this action/suspense thriller kept me turning the pages, with its present tense POV and straight-for-the-jugular action. It contains many of my favorite things from novels, movies, and TV shows: a dark sto ...more
Elizabeth Davies
I blew through this in a day.
Narrated in the first person, it was unusual in that it is told in the present tense.
Haas is accomplished at weaving the back-story seamlessly into the novel, building it up gradually until the reader has a sense of what makes his character tick.And I say 'his character' as if there is only one in the novel - there is only one that matters, and I can't believe that the author has written this character well enough for me to be rooting for an assassin!
The plot devel
Dec 23, 2008 Pygmy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: actionthriller
Good, fast-paced character study of an assassin on the job. Has a hard-bitten style, is convincing, intelligent, and overall a worthwhile read. The true rating is really 3.5 stars...The only reason I didn't rate it higher is because I did not ache to continue reading it when I temporarily put it down, nor did it resonate with me so much that I continued to think about it after I finished the book. Perhaps it's because of the hardboiled style combined with the fact that the assassin remains an un ...more
Mar 12, 2011 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for a different type of thriller, The Silver Bear is it. This is not only a thrilling story of a hitman, but a look at his childhood and what led him to his current life and work. I actually liked the character and I think this was possible because Haas told the story through the voice of Columbus. I was even sympathetic to his feelings. His personal life and his work cross paths, and Columbus follows his plan to discover why. This is a very fast read and I really enjoyed it.. ...more
Mar 24, 2010 Joan rated it really liked it
My rating is given within the genre, no for all my books. Make no mistake, this is not great literature, what book about a hitman would be?


Great, fun vacation book. I have a minor quibble with the ending, but one does have to suspend belief in this type of book, so perhaps that is my problem, not that of the book.

Written in precise, economic prose. Bravo for an author who doesn't need 500+ pages to tell a story like this!
Murder for hire sort of a biography. Started off rather like some of Andrew Vachss characters, fostered and badly abused. And the two bonded during this period starting a lifetime comrade and friendship. One also expected a family here as in an operative sense. But for me it fell short. Lots of cold and hard boiled, lots of action, but something was missing in the fullness of the characters and in the story twists and turns.
Jun 17, 2011 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-completed, owned
Not a great book. It's popcorn. It's like a less good Lee Child book. I do appreciate that the lead is a unrepentant psychopath, but he's also a complete fucker, which is not awesome. It's very lean and mean, but that's probably a good thing because the author isn't the best. Still, good summer reading.
Sam Hager
Nov 03, 2016 Sam Hager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book follows the life of a sociopathic hit man, hired to kill the father that abandoned him. The father that murdered his mother. The writing was vivid and traced the character's past and his mission to kill his father, a lot of inner monolog. The main issue i had for the book was that the main character was unsympathetic. The writing was good so I would recommend this book to noir fans.
Mindy Kannon
Dec 29, 2015 Mindy Kannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun fast paced thriller about a hit man. Read #4 in the series and really liked it.
This, the first book in the series, explains some of the background and how our guy "Columbus" became such a proficient and brutal hitman. Great twist and turns. An awesome book when you don't have a lot of time and want a captivating read!!
Greg Dill
Too rated-R for my taste. A bit too violent and excessive profanity. Just not my type of read. I thought the assassin was supposed to be a good guy, taking out bad guys. Within the first 40 pages he kills four innocent people: 2 bodyguards, the man who hands off the assignment, and a young lady hitching a ride.
Aug 03, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love it. This book really draws you in. I particularily laughed at the part on page 2 about the past, present, and future and how God likes O. Henry endings. It's so true. I highly recommend this book!
Mitch Gage
Dec 20, 2012 Mitch Gage rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, quick assassin story. Guys has to murder his dad. I liked the notion of developing a connection between oneself and one's mark in order to sever it. A new way to tell the professional killer story.
This was a semi-interesting book that deals with the rise of an assassin as he takes on a contract with intimate ties to his past. The story moves back and forth between his past and present explaining how he became the man he is.
Mar 31, 2010 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was pleasantly surprised with this one though leary at first (I beleive it was his first manuscript as he is a screenwriter plus it was only about 200 pages). Details of an assasin's lifestyle and his story-a bit gruesome at parts but not too bad. I'd call it interesting...
Brian Wilson
This was an excellent book! Written by one of the screenwriters of 3:10 to Yuma, this fast-paced, tightly written thriller would make a great film. I definitely want to read more about this killer-for-hire - though he lives in a grimy underworld it's one that I didn't mind visiting for a while.
Andreas Michaelides
I bought this book from an airport bookstore, I liked the covered and the blurb looked enticing.
It is written well done, captures your imagination and your attention from the start. The author manages to turn your beliefs and actually making you supporting a killer.
Bert Long
Was an okay read, but nothing I would go out of my way to recommend. Some sections were well written, but other areas were disjointed, or were clearly setup just for reference later on.

Patricia Wchman
Jan 08, 2016 Patricia Wchman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This author touches everything: good writing, good thrill, good story line, good bad guy, and a good fast read.
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Derek Haas is the author of four books about an assassin and one about a spy. He co-created the show CHICAGO FIRE, and executive produces PD and MED. He also co-wrote the screenplays for 3:10 TO YUMA, WANTED, and 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS. Derek lives in Los Angeles.

More about Derek Haas...

Other Books in the Series

Silver Bear (4 books)
  • Columbus (Silver Bear, #2)
  • Dark Men (Silver Bear, #3)
  • A Different Lie

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