Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review: First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader

SUMMARY (From goodreads): Sometimes the weakness we fear most can become our greatest strength . . .

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. The search for Alli leads Jack on a road toward reconciliation . . . and into the path of a dangerous and calculating man. Someone whose actions are as cold as they are brilliant. Whose power and reach are seemingly infinite. Faith, redemption, and political intrigue play off one another as McClure uses his unique abilities to journey into the twisted mind of a stone cold genius who is constantly one step ahead of him. Jack will soon discover that this man has affected his life and his country in more ways than he could ever imagine.


Strong, memorable characters. Brilliant, intricate plot. Potent, weaving writing. This book hits on everything that makes an amazing novel, keeping the reader intrigued right from the start when it shows you some of the end result before catapulting back to build towards that same point. With several different but related plot lines running at once, this is a book that could easily go wrong but it doesn't. Never once was it choppy or hard to follow with smooth transitions between character focuses and even eras.

Jack is a fantastically well written character, rapt with flaws and flourishing with strengths. He's dyslexic and that alone is explained beautifully and artfully. While written words are meaningless to him, the same thing in 3D is almost instantly imprinted in his mind. He can solve a Rubik cube in 90 seconds, create maps in his head from his surroundings, and plenty of other things that make him very apt for working intelligence. His childhood and teenage years are a big part of this book, even tying in with his later life.

Alli Carson is another very unique but candidly done character. Her time with her kidnapper is shown and the aftermath of such an ordeal, at least for the most part. Questions remain unanswered, of course, some locked away in her mind and others things she prefers to keep secret. The reason for her kidnapping is brilliant and something that was hard to predict, particularly with the rapidly progressing events of the book. This is one where the reader will have no idea who to trust and why or when.

Not one single thing is simply for knowledge in this book- everything is intertwined, connecting in some way to another thing. That alone was the most memorable facet for me as it takes a writing genius as well as a lot of time and thought to pin together a story line like this. It is filled with a constant stream of twists and draws together a wide cast of characters without any of their personalities or purposes lacking. This is a political thriller to excite and engross, both gritty and captivating.

Source: Finished review copy received from Forge publishers for review
Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Forge Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765361426
ISBN-13: 978-0765361424

Author's Website


  1. This sounds like a terrific thriller, and I am really intrigued by your description of Jack's character. I'm adding this to my TBR list.

  2. I usually don't read this kinda books but your review surely draws me in! Want to give this book a try now...may like it :)