Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Snow-Eric Van Lustbader

Last Snow
Eric van Lustbader
Forge, Feb 16 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9780765325150

Jack McClure, Strategic Advisor to his best friend President of the United States Edward Carson, is in Russia where he negotiates with President Yukin on a pact to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Carson is informed that Senator Lloyd Bern died in Capri; he was supposed to be on a fact finding trip to the Ukraine. He made an unscheduled stop to Kiev where the last person to see him was K. Rochev.

The President sends Jack to the Ukraine to find out what happened. Before he leaves his hotel Jack rescues Russian FSB Agent Annika Dementieva from an ambush by her lover a minor thug in the local Mafia. When they get on the plane, the First Daughter Alli Carson demands to come with them as he is the only man she trusts (see First Daughter to learn why). As they investigate Bern’s death, Jack concludes there is a traitor inside the American President’s most inner circle of advisors and probably one inside of Yukin’s most trusted advisors. Additionally he wonders whether Bern was murdered rather than dying accidentally as reported. As he continues his inquiry while keeping the two women accompanying him safe, others try to manipulate him, but obviously they don’t know Jack.

This sequel is as entertaining and exciting as its predecessor is. Events are straight from headlines as Jack, Alli and Annika traverse Eastern Europe through a landscape of crime including murder. No one is safe especially the likable trio whose flaws feel genuine. For instance Jack uses his work to bury his mind from obsessing over the recent death of his daughter; this grief propels him to take risks with his life but not if it endangers his two compatriots. Eric Van Lustbader provides his refreshing version of Bourne with the escapdes of Jack.

Harriet Klausner