Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Guest Review: Last Snow

Summary: Jack McClure, Special Advisor and closest friend to the new President of the United States, interprets the world very differently from the rest of us. It’s his greatest liability, and his greatest asset.

An American senator, supposedly on a political trip to the Ukraine, turns up dead on the island of Capri. When the President asks him to find out how and why, Jack sets out from Moscow across Eastern Europe, following a perilous trail of diplomats, criminals, and corrupt politicians. Thrust into the midst of a global jigsaw puzzle, Jack’s unique dyslexic mind allows him to put together the pieces that others can’t even see.

Still unreconciled to the recent death of his daughter and the dissolution of his marriage, Jack takes on a personal mission along with his official one: keeping safe from harm his two unlikely, unexpected, and incompatible companions—Annika Dementieva, a rogue Russian FSB agent, and Alli Carson, the President’s daughter. As he struggles to keep both young women safe and unearth the answers he seeks, hunted by everyone from the Russian mafia to the Ukrainian police to his own NSA, Jack learns just how far up the American and Russian political ladders corruption and treachery has reached.

In the vein of Eric Van Lustbader’s latest bestselling Jason Bourne novels, Lustbader takes us on an international adventure in this powerful page-turner that will keep you reading through the night. -- Forge Books

Last year, Booking Pap Pap read FIRST DAUGHTER by Eric Van Lustbader and really enjoyed it. So when I had the opportunity to receive a copy of Ms. Van Lustbader's new novel LAST SNOW, I knew he'd be interested in reading it. Here are his thoughts:

Author Eric Van Lustbader’s LAST SNOW is his latest action thriller involving agent Jack McClure. Jack is a strategic advisor to and personal friend of the President of the United States who is with him in Russia during the negotiations of a new nuclear treaty intended to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions. One of his assignments is to protect the President’s daughter, Alli, who trusts only Jack since he saved her from a traumatic captivity by a madman. Jack gets a second assignment when he is asked by the President to investigate the death of a U. S. Senator who was killed in Capri after a political visit to the Ukraine.

McClure’s mission is complicated by his rescue of a Russian agent, Annika Dementieva, from ambush by a Russian mob. This event forces Jack to make a quick escape from Moscow and take both Annika and Alli with him on his Ukraine mission.

Van Lustbader has developed a realistic setting for the novel as he touches on current political events such as the Iran nuclear threat and a new nuclear treaty between the United States and Russia. The author takes the reader through a fast paced, action packed, tense trip through Russia and the Ukraine where deception is the rule of the day. The reader is continually challenged to tell the good guys from the bad as Van Lustbader constantly introduces new revelations that twist and turn the plot. Nothing is as it seems. Sometimes it appears as if characters are working on their own and sometimes for the Russian or U. S. government. Even the motives for the treaty are suspect and what starts out as one assignment for Jack McClure turns into another.

I found the characters to be well developed and interesting and all seem to have “issues”. For example, Jack McClure is a very complex character who is both tough and sympathetic. He struggles with a failed relationship with his wife, has issues with the death of his only daughter and suffers from dyslexia which actually turns into an attribute in solving complex issues. Annika is a hardened Russian agent who learns that she has much in common with Alli despite their varied backgrounds. Many of the other characters have lives that are inter-twined because of past associations.

The ending is a real surprise. When you think the ending is all tied up something rather bizarre happens that shocks the reader.It’s definitely not a good guys win, bad guys lose kind of conclusion.

Eric Van Lustbader has written a very good, easy to read novel that holds the reader’s interest right up to the end. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense thrillers.

Thanks to The Book Report Network for sending a review copy, and thanks to Booking Pap Pap for his great review.


bermudaonion said...

Oooh, I like thrillers with surprise endings like that! This sounds like a series I would like.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have these two books on my stack - I'm waiting for our plane trip next month - they seem like great books for that situation!

Kaye said...

Excellent review! Such a good read too, we really enjoyed it.

Kaye said...

Excellent review! Such a good read too, we really enjoyed it.

Beth F said...

I have both books here -- I hope I can get to them soon.