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. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
In this uneven thriller from bestseller Lustbader (The Bourne Legacy), Alli Carson, the 19-year-old daughter of the U.S. president-elect, moderate Republican Edward Carson, is abducted a month before her father's inauguration to be programmed to do something truly terrible at the inauguration ceremony. ATF agent Jack McClure is chosen to lead the search for Alli, primarily because she was the boarding-school roommate of his now-deceased daughter, Emma. Jack faces many difficulties, chief among them his own severe dyslexia. The unnamed current president, who makes religion the basis for all his decisions, wants to use the search as an excuse for all-out war on his enemies, the First American Secular Revivalists and their secret partners, the E-Two terrorist group. Lustbader does a fine job depicting the search for Alli and reconstructing Jack's past, but the confusing political message will leave many readers wondering what the book was really about. (Aug.)
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August 18, 2008
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Excerpt from First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader
Alli Carson sat in the back of the armor- plated limo, sandwiched between Sam and Nina, her Secret Ser vice detail. She was just three days shy of her twentieth birthday, but with her father being inaugurated President of the United States today, she'd scarcely had time to think about what she might get in the way of presents, let alone contemplate what she was going to do to celebrate.
For the moment, it was all about her father. The inauguration of Edward Carson, former se nior senator from the great state of Nebraska, was celebration enough. Even she had found it interesting that the media had made such a fuss over the exit polls showing that her father was the first president to be significantly helped by a massive African- American turnout. Those votes had been the result of a national campaign engineered by her father's formidable election machine in conjunction with
the powerful black religious and political organization, the Renaissance Mission Congress. Her father had successfully run as the anti- Rove, basing his campaign on reconciliation and consensus building, for which the RMC had been the standard- bearer.
But for the moment, everything else was subsumed beneath the intricate and laborious plans for today, which had been ongoing for more than six weeks, as directed by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The speeches, balls, cocktail parties, media ops, and shamelessly opportunistic sound bites had begun five days ago, and they would continue for another five days after her father was sworn in, an hour from now.
After eight years of the executive branch being at loggerheads with the legislature, today would usher in a new era in American politics. For the first time, a moderate Republican would be president--a man who, though a fiscal conservative, was unabashedly pro-choice and pro-women's rights, which put him at odds with many Republicans and the religious right. Never mind. His mandate had come from young
people, Hispanics and African Americans who, finally deciding it was time for their voices to be heard, turned out in record numbers to vote for Edward Carson. Not only did they fi nd him irresistibly charismatic, but they also liked what he said, and how he said it. She had to admit her father was clever as well as smart. Still, he was of a species--the po liti cal animal--that she despised.
Alli didn't even try to peer through the windows. The heavily smoked, bulletproof glass afforded only a glimpse of a world blurred in shadow. Inside, she was cushioned in a plush backseat, illuminated by the soft glow of the sidelights. Her hands were pale against the dark blue leather seat. Thick auburn hair framed an oval face dominated by clear green eyes. A constellation of freckles crossed the bridge of her nose like grains of sand, an endearing touch to a beautiful face. It said something important about her, that she deliberately didn't cover her nose with makeup.
An engine of anxiety thrummed in the pit of her stomach. She'd given her iPod to the driver to plug into the stereo. A wash of fuzzed- out guitars, thumping bass, and steaming vocals from a band called Kill Hannah made the air shimmer and sweat.
"I wanna be a Kennedy," the singer chanted, and Alli laughed despite herself. How many times had she had to endure the same question: "Are the Carsons the new Kennedys? Are you the political dynasty of the future?"
To which Alli would reply: "A Kennedy? Are you kidding? I don't want to die young." She'd said it so often, in fact, that it had become an iconic line, repeated both on hard news shows and late- night TV. It had even led to an appearance on Saturday Night Live, where they'd dressed her up like Caroline Kennedy. These antics didn't exactly thrill anyone else in the Carson family, most of whom were seriously deficient in the sense- of- humor department.
They turned west onto Constitution Avenue NW, heading for the Capitol, where, as convention dictated, the swearing in of Edward Carson and his vice president would take place.
"What about Random House?" Nina, on her right, said suddenly. She had to raise her voice over the music.
"What about it?" Alli said.
Sam, on her left, leaned slightly toward her. "What she means is, are you going to take the deal?"
Sam wore a dark suit of a conservative cut, starched white shirt, striped tie. He had thinning brown hair, soft eyes, and an oddly monkish air, was broad, tall, and powerful. Nina had a long, rather somber face with an aggressive nose and large blue eyes. She wore a charcoal gray worsted suit, sensible shoes with low heels, a pale blue oxford shirt buttoned to the collar. Both Secret Ser vice agents had earbuds so they could communicate with their brethren in the presidential motorcade.