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Saturday, May 29, 2010

My review of Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader

In this second in the “Jack McClure” series, author Eric Van Lustbader takes us on a Ludlem-esque journey from the island of Capri to Moscow to the Ukraine. Political intrigue, deals and double-crosses, diplomats, organized crime figures, rotten politicians and secret agents a-plenty. The Last Snow has a complicated plot line, all centering upon a treaty being signed by Russia and the United States. Once again, Jack McClure’s dyslexia allows his brain to perceive of situations in new and unique ways, allowing him to understand the pieces of the puzzle better than anyone else. Along the way, a lovely rogue Russian FSB officer named Annika as well as the President’s daughter, Allie Carson, accompanies Jack as he attempts to uncover the hidden machinations of all the players.

I really liked Lustbader’s First Daughter, and I was very excited to read the sequel. I think I just wasn’t in the mood for a political intrigue and Bourne Identity type thriller though. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get into this story. The frequent mention of Jack being dyslexic and how it enables his brain to process information differently became annoying to me. I get it already. He’s dyslexic. He thinks differently. It’s an advantage in his line of work. Okay? Now move on. It’s like none of the main characters have ever met a dyslexic person. Good grief, something like 15% of the population is dyslexic. I’m pretty sure we all know at least a few people with this condition. I’d like to think that at least a portion of the remaining 85% of non-dyslexic people could still think abstractly.

The feeling like an Outsider, as it is put in the novel is also a recurring theme. This too started to feel contrived. Really, who hasn’t felt like an Outsider? (Hey, the author capitalizes it, so I thought I should too.) As with the dyslexia, I started to get a bit irritated by the musing’s of the protagonist about being an Outsider.

The novel features a lot of Russian characters, and for some reason my brain just had problems processing all the names. I found myself frequently flipping back in the book to refresh my memory when a character was mentioned. That isn’t a fault with the book though, more of a personal failing of this reader. The plot has the prerequisite twists and turns, and as you would expect, not everyone is who they seem. There was an interesting twist at the end, but by the time I arrived there, I was just glad to be done with the book.

All that said though, I think I’d recommend the book for fans of this genre. As international thrillers go, this book has everything and I think “Tom Clancy-Robert Ludlum” readers will really enjoy this novel. I love a good spy novel too, but I have to be in the right frame of mind for it. Unfortunately, I think I’m still in the Zombie Zone from Patient Zero.

My rating: (And please note, I said MY rating—I’ll bet you’ll like it a lot more than I did!)

Review copy provided by Tor-Forge books.


bermudaonion said...

I struggle with books with a lot of foreign names too - sometimes I make up my own names for the characters. I have a feeling this book isn't for me either.

Anonymous said...

"but by the time I arrived there, I was just glad to be done with the book."