First Daughter

~by Eric Van Lustbader

Eric Van Lustbader is probably best known for his Ninja series as well as for taking over the Jason Bourne books after Robert Ludlum passed away. I was contacted to review his latest work, First Daughter, and though I had never read any of his material before, gladly accepted.

I was somewhat wary of the book since it's a genre I've not read much of (mystery thriller) and because it deals with modern American politics, which is not a huge interest of mine. However, it also deals heavily with religion, which is. In fact, I think that Lustbader's treatment and handling of religion and it's relation to politics, though at times awkward, is one of the many highlight of this novel.

It's election year, and the stakes are high. But, they become even higher when the president-elect's daughter, Alli, is kidnapped in the middle of the night from her private, well-secured, all girl's college. In addition to a multitude of federal secret service men and women, Jack McClure--a top agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)--is brought in to assist with the investigation. He recently lost his own daughter Emma to a tragic car accident. The two girls were roommates, and Jack is a personal friend of the family--bringing his own unique perspective to the case. He will do anything to ensure that Alli is returned home, safe and sound.

The story was executed extraordinarily well--clues were dropped that I picked up on (and therefore anticipated certain turns of events) but there were still some surprises left that were properly set up (i.e. they didn't come from the middle of nowhere and actually made a good amount of sense). The only part of the plot I wasn't totally sold on was the reasoning behind some of the main antagonist's actions. In addition to the kidnapping storyline, reader's are treated to flashbacks to when Jack was growing up--a background that becomes increasingly more relevant to the current situation.

Jack McClure, who happens to be dyslexic, is an absolutely fantastic character. Fortunately, Lustbader has plans to write more books that feature Jack as well as several other characters from First DaughterI'm not sure how the book compares to others in the genre, since I'm not well versed in mystery thrillers, but it made for a great, quickly paced, end of summer read. And I'll definitely be on the lookout for more Jack McClure.