It’s hard to believe that the great Robert Ludlum, creator of dozens of fine action and espionage tales as well as the immortal Jason Bourne character, passed away in 2001. He left behind a legacy of fast-paced and intelligent international thrillers, along with a nearly completed manuscript, “The Janson Directive.”
In 2008, Ludlum’s agent, Henry Morrison, and editor Keith Kahla took this nearly 90 percent completed manuscript and finished it in true Ludlum fashion. While the character of Paul Janson is no Jason Bourne, he is still a force to be reckoned with. THE JANSON DIRECTIVE introduced us to this new Ludlum creation, and readers were met with a retired superspy from a covert U.S. agency who had a penchant for getting the tough jobs done and seeing that justice was served.
"THE JANSON COMMAND has the traditional Robert Ludlum twists and turns, crosses and double-crosses that will appeal to long-time fans."
Much as author Eric Van Lustbader has continued the Jason Bourne series, Paul Garrison is now at the helm of the newest adventure in the Paul Janson saga. THE JANSON COMMAND finds Janson dealing with the new world order that is filled with international turmoil and powerful people behind the scenes pulling the strings on many of the world’s global events.
Once part of a covert agency, Janson now calls the shots as leader of his own group. The Phoenix foundation gives many of his ex-colleagues, as well as other former agents looking for a new way to apply their skills, the opportunity to make a difference in global matters. Janson has three simple rules for members of his team: 1) No torture; 2) No civilian casualties; 3) No killing anyone who doesn’t try to kill them. These rules are not always as easy to obey as they sound, especially when the playing field is not clearly distributed between the good guys and the bad.
Janson takes on a job from a former colleague, Doug Case, to save a doctor who has been kidnapped by a group of Somali pirates. Dr. Flannigan may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Case still needs Janson to bail him out. Janson takes on the job with his team and specifically aligns himself with a former champion sharpshooter named Jessica Kincaid, one in a long line of disenchanted agents rehabilitated by the Foundation.
It does not take long into the assignment before Janson and Kincaid begin to fear they have been misled. Nevertheless, they jump into the mission with both feet, never quite knowing who they can trust. Along the way, Janson gets sidetracked by other missions. He is never one to turn down an assignment, if the money is right and there is opportunity to make a difference. As such, Janson and Kincaid spend some time apart chasing down different leads. Could the Somali pirates be just one part of a puzzle that also includes some powerful international financiers out to start their own mini-war?
THE JANSON COMMAND has the traditional Robert Ludlum twists and turns, crosses and double-crosses that will appeal to long-time fans. At times, the Kincaid narrative is just as engaging as the exploits of Janson --- especially when she finds herself kidnapped by three Australian female thugs and must get out of an extremely tight situation. Garrison does an admirable job with the Janson character and storyline, and just may be able to spin this off into an ongoing series like Lustbader’s successful Bourne novels. What I find most intriguing is seeing Ludlum’s characters dealing with the post-9/11 world --- a world Ludlum himself never saw but most probably had imagined.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on February 16, 2012