Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Shot” as Want to Read:
The Shot
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Shot

3.4  ·  Rating details ·  398 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews

The Communist. The Politician. The Hit Man. The Shot.

Tom Jefferson has a job he does very well. He kills for a living. Fresh off the takedown of a Nazi in Buenos Aires, Tom is poised for his next "assignment" -- the assassination of Fidel Castro. The mob, led by Sam Giancana, the CIA, and presidential candidate Jack Kennedy are all in on the plan. Together, they can take

Paperback, 465 pages
Published 2000 by Orion (first published November 18th 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Shot, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Shot

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Shot was a startling vivid read that mixed gore, profanity, a interesting plot, a lonely but brilliant sniper, and the JFK assassination. A book so shocking it forces the reader to think and contemplate the strange passage of history. Philip Kerr did an excellent job at creating a thriller that seems excitingly genuine, carefully crafted and well balanced. The startling implications of the ending made this an even more disturbing, yet thrilling work of fiction.
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read almost everything that Kerr has written. Normally I shy away from "whatif" historical novels, preferring the reality of history to what might have happened if only if. . . . I had begun reading this book some years ago while waiting for someone in a local library and resolved to complete it eventually. I'm glad that I did.

Kerr does a great job leading the reader down all sorts of blind alleys. Tom Jefferson, a hit man who uses the names of presidents as aliases, has been approached
May 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Lord, what a mess. I think I was one of three people who really liked Esau, and I tried to read one of the Bernie Gunther series and kept groaning at the sheer goofiness of it all, so I'm all over the map with this dude.

Let's start with the problems. There are two protagonists (oh, yeah; the book abruptly changes focus halfway through). This in and of itself wouldn't be a problem if either one of them were remotely interesting. Instead, we get a complete cipher of an assassin and a disgrace
Jun 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not a good read. I thought it would be suspenseful, something I'd really enjoy (I mean it's snipers, who wouldn't?). I was wrong.
Not only could I get into the story, but I just couldn't wrap my mind around the main character for some reason.
I skimmed the pages of this after page 150- and I think I absorbed just as much as I would have if I really delved into the story.
Philip Kerr, you disappointed me :C
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pretty cool kennedy assassination thriller.
Mel Bee
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is going to read like a rant I'm sure. But this book made me almost angry so I've got to let it out.

The book is really not very good. What an unfortunate attempt on Kerr's part. Not only are there silly mistakes (citing the First Amendment as the right to bear arms), but there's quite a lot of useless filler that adds nothing to the story. Sorry Mr Kerr. But it takes a bit more than Google Maps to paint a picture of a city. There are two main characters in the book and I suppose it's a mar
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting pot boiler that is set at the start of the 1960's. Professional assassin, Tom Jefferson, is hired to take out Fidel Castro by members of the mob. Along the way, though, plans change as author Philip Kerr throws in a number of twists to take this seemingly single-minded plot to different levels.
Though, fictional, the names of the major players in our country's history from this era are all present in the story. The novel has a sufficient number of deviations to keep most thriller rea
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a timely read for me given the state of current events in the world and the ever growing list of conspiracy theories. The main protagonist, Tom Jefferson, has his demons which are enhanced by his own experiences as well as his dealings with various government entities. The 1960s is equally embraced in the descriptions and references of an America that once was. The dialogue borders on absolute hysterical at times because of its deadpan alacrity and timing. This is great mix of political ...more
Tom Vater
Philip Kerr can do better than this. The Shot (2000) is written on autopilot. The author of the incredible Bernie Gunther novels, gripping dramas featuring a hardboiled German detective during and after Nazi Germany, must have written this one for laughs. I’m not saying it’s a bad book, I enjoyed reading it. It’s just not the author’s best shot (pun intended!)

The story follows hitman Tom Jefferson who is hired by the mob and the CIA in the late 1950s to assassinate Fidel Castro. I don’t want to
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I confess I am a huge Bernie Gunther fan. Philip Kerr's creation, Bernie Gunther is one of the most intriguing and readable characters to come along in a long time, and all 11 Bernie's take pride of place on my reading shelf, and are one of the rare series I read over and over again.

So to find a "non Bernie" amongst Kerr's writings was a rare find, picked up at a recycling market without even bothering to read the back blurb. Not very Bernie-like, this is its own book. I was hard pressed to eve
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Shot is a book I would recommend as far as entertainment goes, and there's a lot of it. But as far as plot structure and narrative, it's flabby, loose ended fluff with a disappointing ending - which I will not reveal. Kerr seems to skirt over the geo-political issues in favour of strong characterisations and a highly interesting and ambiguous title character (who ultimately shows himself to be less ambiguous in the final chapters), with a truly reprehensible supporting cast - the light dusti ...more
I have taken the habit of reading several books at the same time switching back and forth depending on the mood, with the result that it sometimes will take me several years to finish one... The Shot is one of those on an off reads for way longer than the dates above suggests. And that's probably a review in itself. The book is good enough that I wanted to read it through, not grasping enough that I had to finish it within the decade I started it.
Kerr is one of my favourite authors and while th
Karl Jorgenson
Kerr continues to amaze me with his range. All his books are suspenseful and thrilling, but the settings, characters, times and themes cover a lot of ground. Here he takes up the struggle of the U.S. to cope with Fidel Castro and his turn to Communism, right at the transition from Ike to Jack. The CIA has hired the Mafia to hire a sniper to kill Castro, but things are going to go wrong. What begins as a simple plot, likely to succeed, morphs into a plot against president-elect Kennedy. Nobody is ...more
Ian Robb
This is a fiction about an assassination attempt on John Kennedy. It was planned to take place after his election and before his inauguration, while Eisenhower was still president. Kerr has a lot of detail about the times late 1960 and early 1961 and provides much interesting information about the Kennedys and their relationship with people in organized crime. In any case the assassination ordered by Cuba does not happen. The attempt, without bullets, is filmed and sent to US officials to show h ...more
Denise Dougherty
My first Philip Kerr book and I give it 3.5 stars. The Shot was an interesting alternate history (?) story about 1960, newly elected JFK, his "sexploits", Mafia, ex-FBI, assassins in Miami & New York.
Reading as many thrillers as I do, such stories always cause me to wonder if these are really alternate history or a leaking of long-hidden actual events. But then, that is their purpose - to cause you to wonder.

Overall, it kept my interest. The only think I didn't like - and didn't like it in 1
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melinda by:

While I was reading "The Shot", the Philip Kerr book, someone at work said he had
written a very good trilogy about Berlin. I may read it and hope
it's better than this one. This book is about an assassin hired in
the early 1960s to kill Castro. It has many twists and turns and is
well written. I didn't like it. What I actually didn't like was the
depiction of the time. I lived through the 60's and yet I found the
attitudes towards women, blacks, minorities disturbing. I don't know
what else to say. Ma
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, thriller
The Shot is a Philip Kerr thriller about an assination attempt on John Kennedy and the efforts of the Mob (!) to thwart it. A very odd book, with mostly repugnant characters, made it one of my least favorite Kerr books. It has a problem it shared with The Day of the Jackal, about de Gaulle getting assassinated - you know it isn't going to happen (well, tragically in Kennedy's case, not yet). Although he does make it all plausible in the end, and even hints of a consipiracy on the real assassinat ...more
Aug 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ian by:
An entertaining, and plausible rationale for the eventual assassination of JFK. The background is the anti-communist USA intelligence community, the mafia, Cuban exiles, and the Cold War, who stumble together to oppose Kennedy, for different reasons.

The novel tells of this background, and finishes with a pseudo attempt to assassinate Kennedy, which is intended to scare him into not invading Cuba. The kicker is that he is not told of the attempt, thus, leaving himself open following the Bay of Pi
Matthew Grossman
J'ai acheté ce livre à Québec. Je l'aimais (la fin était très intéressante), mais le format du roman était rare. Quelque chose dans une chapitre, et d'autres choses avec d'autres personnages dans la prochaine. Cependant, je pense lire les autres romans qu'il a écrits.

I bought this book (the French edition) in Québec. I liked it (the ending was cool), although the storyline was divided oddly. Things would happen in one chapter, and then there would different events with different characters in t
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A marvellous story about an assassination plan on JFK - BEFORE he became president. All sorts of dirty tricks from the usual suspects - CIA, FBI, the Mafia, anti-Castro Cubans and Castro's intelligence service. Lots of false trails, twists and turns with a cast of characters almost all of whom are definitely not to be trusted and most of whom have blood on their hands. I've read all of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther books but this was a new one on me - and I'm glad I decided to read it.
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, thriller
I really enjoyed this fast paced thriller. The historical period in which the book is set gives room for a lot of stories like the one told in these pages. John F. Kennedy has just been elected president, everyone is paranoid about the communists and their so called agenda, and many conspiracies start to unravel. A hit man is hired to kill Fidel Castro, but just as the plan is about to be set in motion certain event turns the table. The hit man disappears and is now after JFK.
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kerr’s thriller puts a new spin on the Kennedy assassination myth, and one that’s quite believable, supported as it is by a cast of characters including politicians, CIA & FBI agents, the Secret Service, mobsters, Cubans on both sides of the Castro issue, and a freelance assassin who may have reasons of his own for wanting Kennedy dead. Great plotting and good portrayal of the time period, with twists and surprises that kept me wondering just who was working with whom until the very end.
Scott Bagley
What a great premise to a book, and how disappointing. This book could have used an EDITOR because a whole lot of nothing happens from beginning to end. This is one of those books I'm kicking myself for finishing because I kept on thinking that it just MUST get better. I didn't.

This book DID do a pretty good job with laying down the political feelings at the time. It sets the scene well, but I don't read a book for just that. I need some story, too, and it didn't deliver.
Simon Page
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first Philip Kerr book I read, and it encouraged me to go on and buy all of the Bernie Gunther series. The way the situation in the early 60's was brought to life was brilliant, and I just loved the dialog. I also enjoy books about hitmen, snipers, the mafia etc.. so this one was perfect for me.
Kerri Jones
The Mob, The CIA, The Secret Service, Castro, The Cubans, The Russians; this book had all the political main players of the early sixties. Almost too many to sort out all the political innuendo going on. Interesting story surrounding well known history but the politics bogged me down and made it far too intellectual to really enjoy.
Yves Panis
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bon alors la c'est du très lourd et tout ce qu'on aime : un roman d'espionnage, un projet d'assassinat de Castro, puis de Jack, des agents doubles voire triple. Le pied total. Par l'auteur de la trilogie berlinoise. Un must absolu !
Ron Crooks

I love Philip Kerr but this book was weak in comparison to the Bernie Gunther series.

I spite of this I quickly finished this book. I like to intersperse my serious reading with the occasional thriller.
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very clever story. Hugely attractive if you are a conspiratory theorist, with an interest in the Kennedy years. Lots of theories come together well in this book. The ending was a surprise though I'm still thinking about the practicalities. Worth a read.
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
It wasn't thrilling, in fact, for most of it, it was boring.

Maybe I just don't get into this type of book. The whole assassin who we can't be sure whose side he is on thing. But really, it was pretty bad.

Its not a good book, save yourself the time and don't read it.
May 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, thriller
Kerr is an excellent thriller writer and he has a real knack for alternative history. This one is in the genre of the Kennedy Assasination and truly leaves the reader guessing up to the very surprising ending.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dark Spectre
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Scorched Earth
  • Der Judasfluch
  • Schopenhauer's Telescope
  • Toxic (Seamus Moynihan, #1)
  • The Male Cross-Dresser Support Group
  • The Leader and the Damned
  • Winter Hawk (Mitchell Gant, #3)
  • A Firing Offense
  • Bunker 13
  • Secret Justice
  • O Espião Português
  • The Dutch Wife
  • The Bells of Bournville Green (Chocolate Girls #2)
  • Tapestry of Spies
  • Second Skin (Nicholas Linnear, #6)
  • Indian Country
Kerr has published eleven novels under his full name and a children's series, Children of the Lamp, under the name P.B. Kerr.

Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
More about Philip Kerr...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »