Beloved Enemy (Jack McClure)
by Eric Van Lustbader
Cover Artist: Getty Images
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Forge Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765337054
Date: 10 September 2013 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
Beloved Enemy is the sixth in a series of novels featuring US operative Jack McClure. The basic plot is a mole is present in the upper levels of the US government. At the very start of the novel, McClure meets with his boss and friend Dennis Paull, US Secretary of Homeland Security. Paull has a recording of an informant, which implicates a world-class criminal known as the Syrian for handling the mole. Paull sends McClure out to find both the informant and the mole.
A few hours later, Paull is brutally murdered, and McClure is pegged as the mole. McClure, now a fugitive, sets out on the run both to clear himself and to solve the mystery. To complicate things further, McClure's on-again and off-again love interest is business partners with the Syrian. That is, partners in international organized crime.
Beloved Enemy has it all: spies, hit men, computer hackers, the US President and his cabinet, a damaged love and lust affair, family loyalty, etc. It is a pure mystery--no super powers, no futuristic weapons and no aliens. The mystery is great, but also very complex. You need to think as you read the book.
I found it both interesting and confusing that the computer hackers work for both sides. It makes sense, since the work is on-line and anonymous, that separate sides could hire the same person to do data mining. As the mystery unfolds, even the characters admit that the layers are too complicated to comprehend.
Gradually, the plot unfolds and we find the mole. It is a great surprise when we find out who the person is. McClure and his lover also resolve their own status. It is a fun, but complex, story.
As well as the base plot set in Washington, DC, the story offers vicarious travel to both Bangkok, Thailand and Zurich, Switzerland. Multiple characters and lots of action are in each location. As I read, I could see the scenes of the action movie involving characters racing cars through the street and hanging from electrical cables and helicopters, among other things.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel. My only complaint is that I had a bit of trouble following the plot. It is intensely complicated. Since this is a series, some authors offer more background info than others on the previous novels in order for a new reader to catch up when starting in the middle of the series. I think that Van Lustbader could offer more. Apparently, in earlier novels, Van Lustbader made a big deal about McClure overcoming dyslexia and using the skills he developed to organize his mind to help him solve his crimes. I see a little bit of the dyslexia in Beloved Enemy, but the author does not make a big deal of it.
I recommend Beloved Enemy. It has fast-paced action with a little bit of romance and a great ending.