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OLIVER TUNSTALL

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Full Name: Oliver Tunstall
Nationality: American
Organization: The Conclave
Occupation Other - Paid Assassin

Creator: B. R. Marsten
Time Span: 2014 - 2015

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Oliver Tunstall is a paid assassin.
       By that I mean he kills people for money. As in, contracts taken out to take out someone. And money changing hands before and after the elimination. Good money, too. Minimum of $25,000 per job with the price rising higher depending on the circumstances. Hard to get to targets would cost more. Special circumstances, like making it appear accidental or having it done in a particular way or doing it at a precise time - that will get the cost to rise. He has been doing this for quite a few years and he is very, very good at it.
       "Oliver doesn't look like a dangerous man. He's not some muscled thug who enjoys posing for himself in the mirror. He dresses his compact frame in a tailored suit and good shoes. His hair is neat. His hands clean - so to speak. He wears a Cartier Tank watch but it's the only accessory that stands out, other than a silk tie. To be clear, nothing about Oliver stands out."
       As the woman interviewing him when we first meet Tunstall says, "I'm not certain I'd pay Oliver Tunstall any mind if we passed by one another on the street. I might miss him completely if we were fellow passengers on a train, or eating in a restaurant at adjacent tables. You'd have the same trouble. It's as if the man is wrapped in some polite, unremarkable camouflage. He might not even show up on film, for all I know."
       At the same time, Tunstall can, should the need arise, present himself as a very ominous force more than capable of causing considerable carnage. He doesn't often show this side of himself because he usually does not need to but when he does, it generally means someone is going to be hurt. Truth be told, if you have dealings with Tunstall, angry or not, there is a good chance someone is going to be hurt.
       Assassins, especially freelance paid ones, do not normally belong in a compendium devoted to spy guys and gals but Tunstall does because of the changes in his life that take place well into the story that is Tunstall. [That is NOT his real name, of course. We never learn what that is.] Long after he had gotten into the killing business, he goes up against and then sort of with and then kind of against the Conclave.
       When asked about this pseudo-organization, Tunstall explains how it all started with the Patriot Act. "Spying minus the warrants and due process" as he put it. "There are a lot of little government clubhouses out there now. Anti-Terror. Anti-Drug. Anti-Cyber crime. There's a lot of things to hate these days, and [Uncle] Sam is busy making sure the right people are out there to hate them. [His Conclave boss] was in with a division that called itself The Conclave. Domestic terrorism was apparently their focus. But...I guess someone took their eye off the ball."
       Still according to Tunstall, "The Conclave ... was originally formed to deal with domestic terrorism. It exists in whatever shadowy realm that all black-ops government programs do, save for a few key differences. The Conclave isn't tied to one government agency, but shared across them all. Their oversight is made up of unit commanders inside the Conclave program who report directly to the FBI, CIA, NSA and whatever other acronyms are in charge. Officially they don't exist, but when they do show themselves, the Conclave serves as an arm of whatever agency is making use of them at the time. The unit commanders have final say over what missions their teams work and don't work. It's this autonomy that makes them so effective... and also left them open to the corruption that has taken hold of them."
       Tunstall's relationship with the Conclave is too complicated to describe here and besides, it is a lot more fun to learn it by reading the adventures.

Noteworthy quotes:

"I've killed a lot of people. I doubt I've ever killed anyone innocent."

"I provide a valuable service at a fair rate"

"Screwing up an assassination is like posting racism on social media—everyone hears about it and you never get positive feedback."

"My father once told me that a man only gets one real talent in life, but that he has to spend most of his time figuring out what it is. I guess I found mine." He adds, "Dad was a butcher."

"I don't kill children. But as women are still fighting so hard for equal pay and treatment, wouldn't it be ungentlemanly of me to suggest they aren't worth the same bullet I'd shoot a man with?"

"People have been killing one another for a very long time. It's not as if I have a patent on it." He snickers. "Not yet."

"Did you think that killing someone would be somehow romantic? A fairy story? It's ugly. It's hard. But I do it because I like eating. I like wearing nice suits. I like not living on a street. I said I was the hero in my story, I never said I wasn't the villain in yours."

When asked if he might not be a tad sociopathic, he deadpans, "The voices in my head say no."

"I don't like mysteries. I certainly don't like to go into one unarmed."

BOOKS

Number of Books:3
First Appearance:2014
Last Appearance:2015

1 A Conversation With Oliver A Conversation With Oliver
Written by B. R. Marsten
Copyright: 2014

A reporter is given an unusual chance to sit and talk with, several times actually, Oliver Tunstall and learn how he got into the business of killing people and several early adventures.
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2 A Confession From Oliver A Confession From Oliver
Written by B. R. Marsten
Copyright: 2014

A continued look into the life and profession of killer-for-hire Oliver Tunstall and how he got involved with Uncle Sam.
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3 An Interrogation Of Oliver An Interrogation Of Oliver
Written by B. R. Marsten
Copyright: 2015

Law enforcement officials are pleased and upset to have a 'conversation' with Oliver Tunstall because they are certain of what he is and cannot prove it. And the answers he gives them freely do not make them feel any better.
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MY COMMENTS

       Many years ago I became a huge fan of the character Augustus Mandrell, a paid assassin with some ties to the spy world. I have met (figuratively, of course) a fair number of assassins since then but none that had been of the type of, or the amount of fun or, M. Mandrell until now.
       I adore the dead-pan, pun intended, humor and style of this series. I love how cool he can be in most situations and how cold-blooded he can be at others. Always against the bad guy, naturally. I would not have felt so friendly with him if he had not been dispatching people I would not miss. He would say the same thing, too. Actually, in one point he did when he mused he has not yet killed anyone innocent.

GRADE

My Grade: A-

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