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Robert Ludlum's The Janson Command
Paul Garrison

Grand Central / Hachette
March 2012 / ISBN 9780446564502


Reviewed by Bob Walch

When he is offered five million dollars to find a doctor kidnapped by Somali pirates, Paul Janson, the owner of the security firm Cat's Paw, can't say no. The fact that a friend makes the request and Janson "owes" his former colleague big time for saving his life is another factor in accepting the assignment.

What follows is an international roller coaster ride that takes the one time government assassin and his very accomplished associate, Jessica Kincaid, on a journey that involves dealing with some very nasty individuals set on disrupting a small African nation.

A world-class sniper, Jessica is a master of the deadly arts, a talented disguise artist and a pretty good linguist. She'll need all of these special skills as she and her boss have to deal with a ruthless dictator, a South African hit man, and sundry, powerful, corporate sleaze balls determined to get their hands on an important oil reserve.

Janson, who is determined to only focus on "doing good" at this stage in his life, will be hard pressed to live by the new ideals that now govern his life (no torture, no gratuitous violence, and no civilian casualties). Rescuing the doctor will involve a number of "complications" that point to a much larger and more serious predicament that has international repercussions.

Of course, as he and Jessica get into this assignment they realize the kidnapping is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg and the stakes are much higher than they were led to believe.

All of the ingredients are here for a fairly entertaining read. There is plenty of double-dealing and violence as the action moves across three continents. Although this novel may be hyped as in the "tradition" of Robert Ludlum's work, it doesn't quite reach the level of the deceased writer's fiction. That's not to say that Paul Garrison doesn't hold his reader's attention. He's mastered the "formula" and can deliver what the average reader expects of this type of fiction.

Reviewed 2012