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Ludlum's Latst Intriguing
by Christina M. Hinke
``The Janson Directive.''
By Robert Ludlum. St. Martin's. 547 Pages. $27.95.
The Associated Press
January 19, 2003
Robert Ludlum died in 2001, but left behind another of the sort of thrillers that have been so popular with readers.
Paul Janson is a former agent and assassin with the covert U.S. Consular Operations. He retired because he could no longer bear being a professional killer.
In "The Janson Directive," (St. Martin’s, 547 pages, $27.95) he comes out of retirement to try to save the life of a man who once saved his.
The mission puts Janson and his team on Anura Island in the Indian Ocean to rescue an international peace-keeper about to be executed by terrorists. Not only is Janson returning to the work he came to loathe, but he is returning to the island where his wife and unborn child were killed in a terrorist bombing.
When the rescue attempt goes awry, the story quickly turns into one of Janson trying to save himself. He realizes he’s been framed, and he begins unraveling the conspiracy so he can turn the tables on his predator.
When Janson is in a bind, he reflects on the combat training he received:
"Can’t see a way out? Take the time to see things differently. See the two white swans instead of the one black one. See the slice of pie instead of the pie with the slice missing... Fire-power by itself won’t do it. You’ve got to think your way out of this one.’’
Throughout the book, Ludlum reveals Janson’s dreams to make the reader understand what he had endured while he was a covert operative. He has fitful dreams about his career, from his combat training through his retirement and his wife’s murder. Here we see how he was once programmed to be a killing machine and how he re-programmed himself to be a human being with a heart and soul.
"The Janson Directive’’ has many plot twists, and the writing is often wordy and too detailed, making the reader have to work hard to stay focused.
Janson’s escapes from life-threatening situations can seem unbelievable at times, but that’s what readers expect from a Ludlum novel — it’s pure testosterone, with plenty of thrills and intrigue.
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