Book Review: Lustbader smoothly carries on 'Bourne' tradition

"The Bourne Deception" by Eric Van Lustbader; 978-0-446-53982-1; 432 Pages; $27.99; Publication Date: June 9, 2009; Hardcover; Fiction; Published by Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group, New York, NY

Robert Ludlum, author of 21 novels, including the Jason Bourne series, died in March 2001. Yet even after his death, the fans of Bourne's adventures beckoned for more and Eric Van Lustbader, a novelist in his own right who has written 20 international best-selling novels, stepped up and filled those enormous shoes of Ludlum by continuing the Bourne series with greater intensity of action and adventure.

The Bourne Deception begins in a peaceful, serene and quixotic island setting where the most dangerous situation seemed to be the invasion of a mosquito through netting which covered Jason's bed. Then, his engulfing tranquility is shattered when Jason is shot by an unknown assailant in an ambush. Van Lustbader accomplishes all this decisive action in the first 30 pages!

An American passenger plane is shot down over Egypt by an apparent Iranian missile. In the ensuing investigation, Bourne becomes a key player, but at the same time is trying to piece together clues which will lead him to his assailant. His involvement puts him in the middle of both incidents, deepening your entanglement to figure out what is going to happen next.

If you haven't read any of the previous Jason Bourne thrillers, have no fear, each of the characters are skillfully reintroduced in taking their places in his present or past life. Then, without missing a beat, the action continues as each of them play an integral role in the Deception, which is the theme of this novel. Clichés should not find their place in good writing, but this is a "page-turner" you really want to read.

One of the great strengths of both Robert Ludlum and Eric Van Lustbader is their ability to write clearly, concisely and cleanly. Potty-mouth dialogue is not the norm, though many writers feel that in order to give the reader their "money's worth," they must include many four-letter words. This is not the case in The Bourne Deception. Be deceived, but pleasantly, if you please.

Tying together all the loose ends is a technique which is utilized by those writers who realize that abruptly stopping at a cliff's edge without conclusion will not satisfy true fans. Eric Van Lustbader concludes this story with flaring style and portends there will be further continuations of Jason Bourne's worldly adventures.

Highly recommended.

Publisher's Weekly Best-Selling Books

Week of June 15

Fiction

1. Skin Trade; Laurell K Hamilton; Berkley, $26.95; 978-0-425-22772-5.

2. The Scarecrow; Michael Connelly; Little, Brown; $27.99; 978-0-316-16630-0.

3. Medusa; Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos; Putnam; $27.95; 978-0-399-15565-9.

4. Shanghai Girls; Lisa See; Random House; $25; 978-1-4000-6711-4.

5. Matters of the Heart; Danielle Steel; Delacorte; $27; 978-0-385-34027-4.

Non-Fiction

1. Excuses Begone!; Wayne Dyer; Hay House; $24.95; 978-1-4019-2173-6.

2. Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man; Steve Harvey; Amistad; $23.99; 978-0-06-172897-6.

3. Liberty and Tyranny; Mark Levin; Threshold Editions; $25; 9781416562856.

4. The Last Lecture; Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow; Hyperion; $21.95; 9781401323257.

5. Outliers; Malcolm Gladwell; Little, Brown; $27.99; 9780316017923.

Clark Isaacs lives in the Kingman area. Visit him at http://clarkisaacs.ning.com to submit review requests.