Thursday, April 1, 2010

Book Review: Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader


An American senator, supposedly on a political trip to the Ukraine, turns up dead on the island of Capri. When the President asks him to find out how and why, Jack sets out from Moscow across Eastern Europe, following a perilous trail of diplomats, criminals, and corrupt politicians. Thrust into the midst of a global jigsaw puzzle, Jack's unique dyslexic mind allows him to put together the pieces that others can't even see.

Still unreconciled to the recent death of his daughter and the dissolution of his marriage, Jack takes on a personal mission along with his official one: keeping safe from harm his two unlikely, unexpected, and incompatible companions - Annika, a rogue Russian FSB agent, and Alli, the President's daughter. As he struggles to keep both women safe and unearth the answers he seeks, hunted by everyone from the Russian mafia to the Ukrainian police to his own NSA, Jack learns just how far up the American and Russian political ladders corruption and treachery has reached. And though Jack's abilities are as good as its gets, there is much more to gain — and lose — on this journey than the truth about the Senator.


Picking up not long after the close of First Daughter, Last Snow builds on the world already created while adding innumerable new elements, now set in Russia rather than the United States. Reminders of events in First Daughter filter through at the right moments to spark the reader's memory without spending laborious amounts of time summarizing and replaying events, playing the assumption of the readering having already read the first book. This book is a delectable mix of intrigue and mystery, a wide cast of characters, and betrayal and love. As with First Daughter, Lustbader twines it together in a way that leaves the reader unable to see the final outcome until it unfolds.

Jack's character is strengthed even further from the already well developed man introduced in First Daughter. The unique workings of his dyslexic mind continued to play a strong role throughout the book, helping the reader to see his striking differences in the way he develops things in contrast to the other characters. His relationship with Alli, the First Daughter abducted in the first book, continues to grow as well while he also works to find ways to suppress his continued guilt over his own daughter's death. He is an incredibly likeable character, made up of an enduring mix of passion and determination along with wits, cunning and a certain vulnerability.

Alli also continues to grow, shifting between being a young 20s girl and a woman wise and experienced beyond her years. She harbors her own demons and guilt, things that at times render her distant and almost dysfunctional, helped only by Jack. Possessing her own level of wits and determination, Jack and Alli make a very interesting pair that will keep the reader intrigued not only with the story line but their unique relationship.

Annika is a new character introduced in this book, coming in at the start and remaining throughout. She is most definitely a woman holding many secrets of her own, a woman who knows what kind of body she has and how to use it, and a woman who will stick with the reader even after the story has come to a close. Her interactions with both Jack and Alli as well as her contacts through Ukraine and the people they run into help show the vast cultural differences ad providing a constant reminder to the reader of the foreign setting for this book. Lustbader does a phenomenal, well planned job of both this character and the country where it takes place.

The plot is one filled with twists, turns, set backs and drop offs. True to his style, Lustbader leaves nothing to chance and throws curveballs at every opportunity, rendering the reader almost unable to predict anything. There are larger things at work than simply solving the murder of the American senator and unravelling everything is a thrilling and well worth it ride. The twists continue right up until the last page, leaving the reader stunned and itching for more, not just of the story but of these characters that Lustbader has ensured will stick in a reader's mind.

The writing is seamless, flowing swiftly with astounding imagery and unique, memorable ways of expressing and pitching things. Lustbader is a master at political thrillers, possessing a style all his own that I have come to greatly, fully appreciate. As with First Daughter, I certainly recommend this book for the strong characters, the unique and stunning plot, and the beautiful writing style.

Author's Website

Source: Finished hardbound copy for review from Forge publishers
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Forge Books; 1 edition (February 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765325152
ISBN-13: 978-0765325150


  1. Great review, you make me wanna read adult books :)

  2. This sounds like a really great book. Great review :)

  3. I love that I am not the only one who reads adult books and YA. Loved the review

  4. So, I finished this book... and loved it too. Though I found frenemies highly amusing! lol...