High flying, high finance, high society, high jinx. Low down dirty double-crossing dirty tricks. That’s what you expect from a Bourne thriller – and that’s exactly what Eric Van Lustbader delivers. Time and time again.
I like these ‘Bourne’ thrillers so much, that I am able to forgive almost anything that does – or sometimes doesn’t – happen in them. I’m even prepared to (well, almost prepared, I suppose I should say) overlook the constant ‘punching in’ of telephone numbers. One just doesn’t punch a number in. No. Anyway…
‘Imperative’ begins (well, a little bit after the beginning really) with fishing a man with memory loss and no identification out of the water. This time though, in contrast to the first ever Bourne book, it’s Jason B., doing the fishing. Story moves on and the shocks and thrills mount and it soon turns out that (even) the President of the USA wants Bourne dead. I suppose you know you’re really up against it when the good ol’ POTUS wants you dead, eh? The rest of the story? Well, there’s not much you need to know, except it delivers. We have Russians, the Israelis – in the form of Mossad (as friends and foes) – Mexican drug lords and more. You can pick it up, but don’t expect to be able to put it down again anytime soon. I seem to have read this one a little out of sequence, but it really doesn’t matter. Enough of the whys and wherefore’s are explained to make it all readable without having read the previous, and without getting in the way of the enjoyment of the present.
Otherwise? You can tell the English character – he’s the one calling people ‘mate’ in every other sentence. Mexico City is both a whirlpool and has a beating heart inside the same paragraph. Yeah, I guess I’m willing to overlook those as well.
If you want a book that keeps you on your toes the whole time, where you should always expect the unexpected, then this is more how a good thriller should be than many you’ll read. Confusing yet intriguingly interesting at the start, as the pieces are assembled , then becoming clearer in the middle as the pieces fall into pace for Bourne – and you. As the problem becomes clearer, possible solutions pop up, on the page for Bourne and in your head. I like that in a book. And I’m pretty sure this is the kind of thriller the people quoted on the backs of Charles Cummings books think they’ve been reading.