You know what you’re getting when you get into a Robert Ludlum book.
Fast paced, exciting action, taking place in exotic, globe-trotting locations – a real page-turner, as long as you don’t think too much about the intricacies of the plot. And probably a couple of sleepless nights as you read “ok, just one more chapter then…”
You know what you’re getting, you know what you’re getting into and you know it’s going to deliver.
If that’s not for you, don’t start one. Don’t start one looking for deep meaning, and then pretend to be disappointed. Don’t pretend you were expecting high prose and then feign disappointment when you don’t find it. Robert Ludlum books don’t have pretention; the readers sometimes do. Don’t criticise, just accept them as what they are, or accept that they’re maybe not for you.
With an Eric von Lustbader ‘Robert Ludlum’ book, it’s perhaps a little less certain. He writes in the style of Robert Ludlum, but ‘it’s not quite there’, as my old boss used to say.
Most people will have come to the Jason Bourne books after the success of the three films. I did. Though I had previously read several of the non-Bourne Ludlum books. And thoroughly enjoyed them. This one, seems to be No.8 in the Bourne series, so as I haven’t read 6 or 7, I maybe shouldn’t have got to this one just yet. Though I figured they would probably be pretty much stand-alone, with the links being the US Intelligence services, Treadstone, and Bourne’s memory loss. That’s correct here. Bourne starts in Bali, I think, then has to travel here and there unravelling this and that, all the while dodging bullets and in the process, gradually finding more clues to his own, forgotten, past.
More, you don’t need to know. There are twists and turns, double-crossing (possibly triple-crossing) and general, to quote my old Grandma; “dirty-dickery” at every page turn.
The main thing that grated with me here, was a very little thing. He often, mid in the hectic action of a fight or shoot-out, mentions the type of gun being used. The villain doesn’t just grab a gun and shoot at Bourne, he grabs (for instance) a Walther PK67 (I’ve made that up) and fires. As if that is supposed to impress me and tell me soooo much about the villains dastardly character. He is a discerning villain who only uses the very highest quality of gun, by a manufacturer we’ve never heard of, so must presume that it signifies an intelligence a couple of notches above our own. But because we’ve never heard of the gun make, it is meaningless. Just a word, a sound in our heads. He may as well have written ‘Sowlsmexvofmdl’. To his credit, he doesn’t do like others i could mention, and use the characters’ choice of shirt-, sock-, cigar-, or fountain pen-manufacturer, to ‘reveal’ the dastardly villains character. As if paying over the odds for something we plebs thing nothing of picking up for a couple of coins in the local supermarket, indictes a level of sophistication that a villain absolutely shouldn’t have. When James Bond asks for a Martini to be shaken, not stirred, he is admirable in his level of taste. When a Russian mobster insists on the same (and that the bartender be flown in from an exclusive Paris hotel to do it), it is supposed to indicate that he (or she, I guess), is even more ruthless and heartlessly despicable than was previously indicated by their wiping out of an innocent victim’s whole family.
Oh, and; where does Bourne keep his money? It’s not like he can nip to the local bank, yet he’s never short, no matter what country he’s in, or how much he needs. Can’t figure that one out.
Good, but not great. A Lustbender, not a Ludlum. But I’ll still read the others.