I often read novels about assassins when I retire for the night - they seem to put me to sleep.
The latest series I have read is called The Gray Man series, written by United States author Mark Greaney (there's a recent film about the first book in the series, but it pales in comparison with the book) (1). Basically, the series is about a somewhat conflicted, moralistic, and "good" assassin named Court Gentry, who only targets people he believes to be evil. Despite his obviously questionable tradecraft, Gentry displays a strong moral code and deals with most of the other characters in an honourable manner, unless they do him wrong first.
What I like about the books are several concepts that Gentry entails - although he is the one with the "bad" career choice and does not pretend to be an angel, he repeatedly demonstrates Plato's four cardinal virtues - prudence (doing the right thing), fortitude (strength and courage), temperance (self-control), and justice (fairness) (2). This is in sharp contrast to pretty much every other character in the books, many of whom have a "good" career choice and pretend to be good guys...but aren't (although some, particularly Zack Hightower, are highly entertaining).
The Gray Man by Mark Greaney.
Beyond his virtuous acts, of course, Gentry portrays the concept of The Gray Man, which is is centered on the idea of not drawing attention to one's self while also paying extra attention to one's surroundings. In the right situation, this is an important concept.
The Gray Man Concept
Although the Gray Man concept involves not drawing attention to one's self, it also means increasing one's situational awareness by paying more attention to one's environment (3). This means being somewhat unremarkable, so that if someone was standing beside you, they would not remember exactly what you looked like (4) This also means being aware of who is around you, what is their body language, where are they looking, and so on. Ultimately, the whole point of "going gray" is to enhance one's survival, which is particularly applicable in specific situations and environments.
The Gray Man is known in the military as the ideal candidate for special forces training, such as becoming a Navy SEAL (5). The Gray Man candidate is not the best soldier, and rarely wins competitions - but he always meets the standard, and never fails the competitions, either. He consistently gets the job done, no matter the circumstances. He does not argue or complain, even when times are tough. In other words, The Gray Man is just solid.
Ultimately, adopting the veil ofThe Gray Man is mostly about enhancing one's survival.