The Matlock Paper - Robert Ludlum
Professor James Matlock has an appointment with dr. Sealfont, rector at the University of Carlyle where he teaches. There he meets an FBI man who tells him about the existence of something (or someone?) called Nimrod. Nimrod represents a ramified organisation that focuses on the distribution of drugs, but now seeks contact with other crime organisations. Not sure what for, but it doesn't sound nice. And the FBI believes Matlock is the perfect person to try to find out more about this meeting, for there isn't much time left, it is supposed to be within a couple of weeks. Matlock accepts.
That was his last peaceful moment in a while. The FBI man is killed the same evening, Matlock finds his body in a phone-booth. His flat is torn apart, he is drugged and threatened, his girlfriend abducted, abused and tortured, the eminence grise of the university is murdered, and all of that is only the start of a series of events Matlock doesn't understand as he doesn't know where this all comes from. He does begin to see that whatever he is doing, he is starting to make some people very nervous... Maybe he ought to try to make them nervous enough to expose themselves.
So as a last resort he goes to his parents, where he gets the first pleasant surprise in a while when he asks them for assistance. Now he finally has the feeling he is the one steering things, he's doing more than just ruffling some feathes. Or is he overestimating himself and becoming a bit overconfident?
Frankly the plot has a few holes (Matlock blindly trusting someone just after he heard he ought to be extremely careful, and the goal is just to find the two-faced bigshot, for example) and that is a pity since everything else is there. Action from beginning to end (be it that the villain in the end was a bit predictable too), an excellent pace, a good buildup of the tension, this is a great page-turner. I guess the best thing you can do is to not take the story too seriously, and then this book is excellent entertainment.
© Jim Bella 2002-2006