I first discovered Ron Faust's work back in the late '70s or early '80s when he wrote a couple of books for Gold Medal. I've read his books off and on ever since. I've reviewed a couple of them (here and here) on the blog. (I thought maybe I'd reviewed them four or five years ago. It was ten years. Yikes.) A few months ago I read a review of Jackstraw, which I hadn't known about, and I thought I'd better get a copy. I'm glad I did.
Thomas Jackstraw (everyone calls him "Jack") is a mercenary. He's in one of those small mythical Central American countries when he agrees to fake the attempted assassination of an American VP candidate, a femme fatale if ever there was one. He thinks he's one step ahead of the plan, which would include his own death, but he's only a half-step ahead. What he didn't figure on was the actual assassination of the presidential candidate who's travelling with her. He manages to elude the people intent on killing him and get back to the U.S. But that's only half the story. Now Jack is on the run in the High Country. There's some great wilderness survival stuff, which Faust is really good at, and then the political plot returns and kicks into high gear.
I really enjoyed this book, but then I've enjoyed all Faust's work that I've read. His clear prose propels the plot, and Faust provides plenty of twists, but he also gives you plenty to think about. Reading this book, published in 2013, it's hard not think about the current political campaign. It's scary. The book has a perfect setup for a sequel, but that's not going to happen, as Faust died in 2011. A great loss to the world of thriller fiction.