Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Mystery Book Review: Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader

by
A Jack McClure Mystery

Forge (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-7653-2515-2 (0765325152)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7653-2515-0 (9780765325150)
Publication Date: February 2010
List Price: $25.99

Review: Former ATF Agent, now advisor to the President, Jack McClure investigates the murder of the minority whip in Congress in Last Snow, the second mystery in this series by Eric Van Lustbader.

McClure is accompanying the President to Moscow for the historic signing of a security agreement between Russia and the United States when he learns that Senator Lloyd Berns has died, his body found on the Isle of Capri. Though the death is shocking, the location of the body is even more surprising: Berns was supposed to be in the Ukraine on a political assignment for the President. While the President returns to the US, McClure is tasked with discovering what led Berns from the Ukraine to the Isle of Capri, and the circumstances surrounding his death -- more specifically, was it accidental or intentional. The President's daughter, Alli, the target of a kidnapping that was thwarted by McClure (the plot of the first book in the series, First Daughter), insists on accompanying him as does Annika, an agent with the Russian Federal Security Bureau. Together, they travel from Moscow through Eastern Europe facing deception, violence, and murder.

Last Snow is a compelling sequel to First Daughter, this time incorporating international political intrigue into the fast-paced plot. (It should be noted that it isn't necessary to have read the previous book to enjoy this one.) Jack McClure is a likeable, well-developed character who has dyslexia; rather than being hampered by this learning disorder, he has embraced it, picturing letters in his mind as three-dimensional images and extending that ability to "read" people and calculate situational risk. The descriptive settings add to the appeal, providing a dramatic backdrop to the exciting situations into which the three characters (McClure, Alli, and Annika) are drawn. Readers may be tempted to complete this above average thriller in one setting.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Last Snow and to Authors on the Web for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): 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.

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