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Review - First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader

Forge Books, 434p, ISBN: 978-0-7653-6142-4
Synopsis - 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.

Having previously read and enjoyed some of this author's stories in the Bourne series, I was very interested to read this novel, the first in the McClure-Carson series. The premise promises much but delivers little.

 A dyslexic hero with a lot of personal baggage is thrown into a situation not of his making, which rapidly dissolves into a covert war between a religious fantaticism of an outgoing president and the political maneuverings of the incoming one. Add a ghost, a super-spy and a young girl being brainwashed into the mix and it promises to be a first class thriller.

Instead it comes across as outright preachy in places, with neither action nor the whodunit able to gain the upper hand. The leaps of intuition are gigantic in places and at other points it makes the reader wonder if the other investigators were physically blind to not spot the inconsistencies. Too much emphasis is placed on Jack's dyslexia and how it imbibes him with an almost supernatural way of solving cases. Not even the interesting and complex triangle of a relationship that develops between Jack, Alli and Emma can save this story from being anything but a disappointment.

Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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  1. It's good to see someone stepping up against some NYT Bestseller, people often grant those book inappropriate attention just because they somehow make it into the list.



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