Last Snow (Jack McClure Trilogy) by Eric Van Lustbader
|Last Snow (Jack Mcclure Trilogy) by Eric Van Lustbader|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: A second Jack McClure cinematic thriller with an unpredictable twist or two lifting it above the average. The author also sees dyslexia as an advantage rather than a disability. Nice one Eric!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: April 2013|
|Publisher: Head of Zeus|
|External links: Author's website|
Jack McClure, aide and friend to the US president, is back at work after the death of his daughter and the resolved kidnapping of President Carson's own daughter, Alli. However, Jack hasn't fully recovered; he's still in mourning and full of self-recrimination but the show must go on. When an American senator is killed in Capri Jack's on hand to investigate, starting a mission that will take him into the Ukraine and the seamier side of power on both sides of the Atlantic. Apparently not all the President's closest advisors can be trusted and that's not Jack's only complication. After Alli's traumatic experiences at the hands of Morgan Herr Jack is the only person she trusts, so she's coming along for the ride, through hell, high water and a few murders.
To say that intriguingly-named American author Eric Van Lustbader is prolific is a bit of an understatement. When he isn't writing Jason Bourne novels (a role he took on from Robert Ludlum), he's writing about his own creations: the martial arts expert Nicholas Linnear and, as in this case, dyslexic presidential trouble shooter Jack McClure. Indeed, we'll move on to the dyslexia in a moment but first a plea: please don’t be put off by the prologue. It's written in a clunky faux-literary style that isn't repeated in or representative of the novel. The novel is very good, the prologue much less so. Anyway, that aside, on with the rave…
Every action hero needs a note of uniqueness. In the case of Jack, he's reflective, he's written by an author who's not afraid to kill off established characters and there's the previously flagged dyslexia. Not only is Jack dyslexic, but Eric knows enough about the condition to make it a positive. For instance Jack has an intuitive sense of direction (my dyslexic husband calls it his 'pigeon brain') and is a whizz at languages. (Yes, that's the reason why he understood that fight in the Russian bar at the beginning.) My incredulity caused by watching my husband struggle with ancient Hebrew (long story!) was dispelled by McClure's tactic of viewing language as pictures to build on, (thus being able to speak but not read or write languages) and my husband's admission that this is feasible.
For those who would rather concentrate on action than on learning disabilities, there's plenty there. Also Jack's emotional wounds bleed through the story adding an edge of reality and depth to the fights, encounters, gore and chase scenes in a very photogenic novel. There are also some wonderful twists as we realise that in this book we make assumptions at our peril. Ok, the Russian and Ukrainian names are a little confusing to start with, but a speck of concentration pays dividends in the shifting sands of goodies versus baddies. Prior knowledge is also unnecessary as Jack's second outing, this works just as well as a stand-alone as it does in conjunction with First Daughter, his debut. It's definitely unadulterated escapism at its most addictive.
Occasionally Jack's internal soul searching may seem momentarily over-indulgent but just ignore it if it does. There'll be something round the corner to distract him soon enough. The only warning I would give (apart from one concerning adult themes and content) is not to read it too near bedtime as that final twist right at the end is a humdinger that will disrupt your sleep like a double espresso. There again, to be honest, speaking as someone who did read it late at night, it's well worth the wakefulness.
If this appeals because you're a fan of a good twisty thriller, we recommend the rounded characters and excitement of Olen Steinhauer or, if you're more of an action addict, try Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva.
You can read more book reviews or buy Last Snow (Jack McClure Trilogy) by Eric Van Lustbader at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Last Snow (Jack McClure Trilogy) by Eric Van Lustbader at Amazon.com.
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