Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mystery Book Review: First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader

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

First Daughter by Eric Van LustbaderBuy from

First Daughter by

Forge (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-7653-2170-X (076532170X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7653-2170-1 (9780765321701)
Publication Date: August 2008
List Price: $25.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Sometimes the weakness we fear most can become our greatest strength ...

Jack McClure has had a troubled life. His dyslexia always made him feel like an outsider. He escaped from an abusive home as a teenager and lived by his wits on the streets of Washington D.C. It wasn’t until he realized that dyslexia gave him the ability to see the world in unique ways that he found success, using this newfound strength to become a top ATF agent.

When a terrible accident takes the life of his only daughter, Emma, and his marriage falls apart, Jack blames himself, numbing the pain by submerging himself in work. Then he receives a call from his old friend Edward Carson. Carson is just weeks from taking the reins as President of the United States when his daughter, Alli, is kidnapped. Because Emma McClure was once Alli’s best friend, Carson turns to Jack, the one man he can trust to go to any lengths to find his daughter and bring her home safely.

The search for Alli leads Jack on a road toward reconciliation ... and into the path of a dangerous and calculating man. Someone whose actions are as cold as they are brilliant. Whose power and reach are seemingly infinite.

Faith, redemption, and political intrigue play off one another as McClure uses his unique abilities to journey into the twisted mind of a stone cold genius who is constantly one step ahead of him.  Jack will soon discover that this man has affected his life and his country in more ways than he could ever imagine.

Review: Racial tensions, religious intolerance, government deception, kidnapping and murder all play important roles in First Daughter, a gripping and topical political thriller by Eric Van Lustbader.

Just weeks before the inauguration of Edward Carson, the newly elected moderate Republican President, the current President seeks to make sure his beliefs become laws of the land. For eight years he has tried to return the United States back to its roots as a Christian nation. He envisions the country's future as a “fortress America”, one able to withstand all foreign terrorists. Working against him is a group that calls itself E-Two, the Second Enlightenment, in reference to the Age of Enlightenment that spread through Europe in the eighteenth century. When President-elect Carson’s daughter, Alli, is kidnapped, for current President is secretly delighted as it gives him an opportunity to devote considerable resources to not only locating the girl and, as a cover, to bring down E-Two at the same time. Carson, however, wants his old friend, Jack McClure, a top Washington AFT agent, to lead a search for Alli, much to the dismay of the Secret Service (and the current President). When McClure's command is quickly undermined, he continues on his own to search for Alli and return her to her family.

First Daughter is one of the most intriguing and exciting novels to be written this year. In addition to the suspense generated by the search for Alli, there is the compelling backstory of McClure who rose from being a homeless teenager suffering from severe dyslexia to being one of the top agents of the US government. There is also the personal connection between McClure and Carson: they were roommates at college and McClure lost his own daughter in an automobile accident. His determination to accomplish his mission for the safe return of Alli is both admirable and thrilling.

There's undoubtedly intended to be a "greater good" message here, but the author seems to intentionally be noncommittal as to what it is, rather, and probably wisely, leaving that for the reader to decide on their own.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of First Daughter and to Planned Television Arts for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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