April 11, 1861 — an excerpt from The First Assassin:
“Why should I hire you rather than someone else?”
“Because you need me.”
“And why is that?”
The visitor did not move. He did not even cast his eyes downward, Bennett observed. A less confident man would shift in his seat or look away, he thought. This fellow did neither. Bennett found himself liking his guest–or at least approving of him. It was true that the reports he had received from abroad gave his visitor high marks.
“You need me because nobody else can do the job,” said the guest. “I am aware of the reports that others have considered doing what you are about to ask of me. Yet they were ruled by passion, and therefore doomed to fail. You must understand that I do not care about your ultimate ends. I do not care what you hope to accomplish by employing me. I care only about the job I am given. That’s why I’m effective. I’m never desperate. I’m simply lethal.”
Bennett absorbed this comment. He began to believe that he had found the man he had set out to find.