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Saturday, September 20, 2008

First Daughter...Review by the Doctor

About the book:
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.

I wanted to read this book. I wanted to read this book and enjoy it. When it arrived, my husband read it first, and after hearing what he had to say, I'm not reading it, and I'm posting his review instead! So, allow me to introduce our guest reviewer, Alan.

There’s an old saying – you’re shouting so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying!

This book had so much going for it – a plot that was interesting, yet subtle. A hero, whose own struggles and demons gave him capabilities and determination. It even tied nicely into the election year politics. It could’ve been so much… but Eric Van Lustbader decided to use it for his own political vehicle. His thinly veiled attacks against the current (though soon to be gone) political administration were so crass, and quite frankly childish, that they over-rode what had the makings of a really good book.

Now, I’m not a writer living in New York, and I don’t mix with the ‘liberal elite’ who no doubt fawned over this book more for its political slant than its good storytelling. I’m just a regular Joe, a doctor who spends his day helping people, not mixing it with publishers in coffee shops. Maybe Van Lustbader figures that he doesn’t have to worry about the opinions of people like me. Maybe he just got a case of Dixie-Chick-itis, and figured that he doesn’t have to worry about annoying people because enough people will buy his book anyway.

Whatever his thoughts, what really annoys me is that if he could have found a way to contain his own vitriol, this had the makings of a damn good book. Jack McClure, ATF agent with a troubled childhood, dyslexia and a ‘pictures not words’ mind makes for a very interesting character. Given some work, this could be a fantastically interesting journey into a mind that can see things we can’t. It really had potential, but it was squandered by his desire to paint the world as he wants to see it. I’ve read other books of his, albeit a long time ago, and I expected better from this book. It felt like he crafted the whole story just so he could stand on the street corner and scream his personal opinions.

If you are as much of a conservative as Van Lustbader obviously is liberal, then you probably want to leave this book on the shelf. If you believe that Dick Cheney is the devil incarnate, then you’ll probably fall asleep with this book, dreaming of inquisitions, impeachments and incarcerations. Just remember to wipe the drool off the pillow in the morning.

Overall – I have to give this a ‘C’. It kind of reminded me of a first teenage kiss on the doorstep – where you are so desperate to do it that there is no subtlety or skill, just the motions. The moment could have been beautiful, but it ends with a strange feeling of “was that it?” That’s how this book was for me.

Thanks to Planned Television Arts and Mini Book Expo for sending me this copy to review. You can learn more about Eric Van Lustbader at his website.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 9/08


  1. Oh. My. Gosh. This is too funny. Not the review, but that you let your hubby read it first and then couldn't read it. This is exactly what happened in my home. Now I will not let Steve read a book that I want to read unless I get first shot. His reaction will stop me from wanting to read it...lol!

  2. I'm back after reading the review. Holly, I hope to see more of your guest reviewer! Love it when hubbies get involved. :) And Alan, great review. Love your candidness.