Review

Last Snow

by Eric Van Lustbader

“Everything comes to an end, he thought. Love, hate, even
betrayal….In the final moment, everyone falls, even the
would-be kings…. In the silence of the tomb, we all get what
we deserve.”

In LAST SNOW, indeed everyone falls --- somewhere along the way.
Some just fall harder than others. Maybe it’s because some
deserve harsher treatment than others, maybe because their betrayal
is greater.

We met Jack McClure in FIRST DAUGHTER, as he saved President
Edward Carson from a would-be assassin, his daughter Alli. To be
fair, you need to know that Alli had been kidnapped and brainwashed
by a supremely malevolent man. Now both Alli and her father see
Jack as her savior. In the intervening months, the first daughter
has been gaining ground toward recovering her mental health and
rebuilding her trust, but she still clings to Jack for support.

Jack’s boss, President Carson, has come to Moscow to forge
an accord with the Russian president Yukin. If successful, their
agreement would put an end to Russia’s military assistance of
Iran. Of course, the United States would have to make some
concessions, but they would be minor ones, taking into account the
enormity of the gains. But is everyone giving the President the
straight scoop, or does Carson have an advisor with ambitions at
odds with the country’s? There seems to be more than one
faction at work, each believing in its singular goal. Only one can
truly benefit the Americans. When word comes of Senator Lloyd
Berns’s death in Capri (when he should have been in Kiev),
the President asks Jack to investigate.

Now, as Jack is leaving for Kiev, Alli blackmails her mother
into letting her go along. What the First Lady doesn’t
understand is how dangerous Jack’s mission is. Nonetheless,
her headstrong daughter wins and Jack now has two thorny problems:
find out what happened to their man in Capri, and somehow keep Alli
safe. Wait, he has three thorny problems. Before he left Moscow, he
became embroiled in a domestic dispute at his hotel, ultimately
shooting a man and running off with the damsel in distress. That
damsel turned out to be a fairly high-placed operative in the FSB,
and her lover was connected to the Russian mob. Could Jack have
gotten himself into a bigger mess?

Actually, yes. As he’s working on his latest assignment,
he discovers a hornet’s nest of intrigue. The dicier things
get, the more Jack begins to feel that no one is telling him the
truth. What saves him is a malady that most consider a curse. Jack
is dyslexic. But while some people see that as a handicap, he has
turned it into a gift, allowing him to assess situations in a
uniquely three-dimensional way. His mind maps and choreographs
facts instead of forming them into a lineal path. In that way, he
finds solutions unavailable to the majority of us. Of course,
having that gift can also make him susceptible to betrayal.
Connivers will take advantage of it, feeding him erroneous
information and using him for their own purposes.

LAST SNOW is full of betrayal but also redemption. Jack is in
the middle, juggling to keep things in balance. He continues to
harangue himself with guilt over the death of his own daughter,
which reinforces the bond with Alli. Fortunately, his focus on the
first daughter helps him come to grips with his grief over the loss
of his child. And he knows that Alli has a lot of healing to do but
very little time for it. She will be lucky to have Jack in the end,
for she will need all her strength to handle the challenges that
come her way in the cold snows of Russia.

Beware, this novel comes to a whopping shocker of an ending. If
you like espionage, action stories, thrillers, mysteries, or all of
the above, Eric Van Lustbader should be at the top of your list of
must-read authors.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on December 30, 2010

Last Snow
by Eric Van Lustbader

  • Publication Date: February 16, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books
  • ISBN-10: 0765325152
  • ISBN-13: 9780765325150