“An eye for an eye will make the world go blind.”
Those infamous words spoken by the late Mahatma Gandhi prove to be quite prophetic as they open the latest novel by espionage writer Eric Van Lustbader. In FATHER NIGHT, a hotbed of global activity and secret dealings mark a transitional period for the normally volatile Middle East. Just how much impact these activities will have on the balance of power is for the U.S. Department of Defense and Homeland Security to ferret out.
"Eric Van Lustbader has already breathed new life into the Jason Bourne series, and proves with his latest McClure/Carson novel that the intelligent espionage genre is not dead and that there are still great stories to be told beyond the Cold War."
FATHER NIGHT marks the fifth installment in Lustbader’s Jack McClure series. This time around, though, the book can be referred to as a McClure/Carson thriller as Special Agent Jack McClure and his surrogate daughter, Alli Carson, each share the spotlight in separate adventures that ultimately tie together in the grand scheme of things.
Author Nelson DeMille has called Lustbader “the master of the smart thriller.” FATHER NIGHT pushes that to the limit as there are so many characters and converging plot lines that even the most astute reader will require a scorecard to keep things straight. What Lustbader does that earns him this high praise is admirably keep all the balls in the air at the same time and deftly peel back layer upon layer of plot until the reader is caught totally unaware by the ultimate finale.
Jack is in Russia with his lover, Annika Dementieva. The reason he got close to Annika was not purely physical attraction, but the fact that her grandfather, Dyadya Gourdjiev, is one of the most powerful and dangerous figures in the world. Now aging and in failing health, Jack and Annika flee Moscow with Gourdjiev in tow and find enemies at every gate trying to end his life. Jack must pull out all the stops to ensure Gourdjiev’s safety while all the time questioning what is actually going on and unsure if he can trust anyone involved.
Back stateside, the daughter of the late ex-President of the United States, Alli Carson, is going through her own ordeal. A cyber stalker has targeted her, and she is abducted by some evil men who have an agenda no one could have predicted. Even with constant Secret Service protection as well as the watchful care of her best friend, Vera Bard, Alli cannot be saved from kidnapping. The man who is holding her in a stark cell, Werner Waxman, seems eerily familiar to Alli, but she is unable to pinpoint why.
Two local detectives, Alan Fraine and Nona Heroe, are called into action by the Secretary of Defense to rescue Alli. Readers will soon become aware that Fraine and Heroe were not selected randomly and that their role in the plot is far more sinister than can be predicted. At the center of all this drama is an ancient plot known simply by the name “Butterfly.” Butterfly was originally a Nazi scheme for creating deep cover OSS agents to infiltrate the Soviet Union during and following World War II.
The ultimate question becomes: Who is Father Night? The answer will chill readers to the bone as all characters and plotlines converge on a decades-old secret that involves one of the most notorious and vilified figures of Nazi Germany and the evolution of an old plot upon the modern world. Eric Van Lustbader has already breathed new life into the Jason Bourne series, and proves with his latest McClure/Carson novel that the intelligent espionage genre is not dead and that there are still great stories to be told beyond the Cold War.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on September 20, 2012