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The Matlock Paper is an original Ludlum novel, written when he was still alive which is a rarety considering the amount of novels written by "Ludlum" aka a shadow novelist chosen my his estate after his death! First published in 1973, the story is somewhat dated now but still an exceptional piece of thriller novelism.
Matlock is a US college professor based in a fictional Ivy league university. He has a military past, but is now firmly an academic. One day a government official comes asking for his help as they believe a massive global drug ring is based on the campus where he works!
From there the traditional and typical Ludlum-esque twist and turns with plots, subplots and sub-sub-plots ensue. The characters evolve as always from simple human beings, to complex political and fraught spies caught in the typical webs of deceit.
Without giving too much away from the storyline, I can safely say that more than once you will think that you have worked it all out and know who the main culprit of the story is, when a new twist appears out of knowhere and you are confused and tested to your limits once again!
The Matlock Paper is typical enthralling Ludlum, and I picked it up around Easter 2009 in Asda for £1! Absolute bargain in my opinion and you should read it, if you haven't already!
The Matlock Paper is the third novel from the award winning thriller author Robert Ludlum. It was first published in 1973. It is an intensely written novel with non-stop action and multiple plot twists, something that is a constant in the majority of his works. The Matlock Paper was one of the first Ludlum novels I read, and I have since read it again, and it is still just as good the second time round.
James Matlock works as a professor at Carlyle University. A Vietnam vet with a reputation, he is recruited by the US government to attempt to uncover a drugs and prostitution ring. As he finds himself up against a power hungry organisation with a lot at its disposal, Matlock is drawn into something far deeper and mroe dangerous than he ever expected, and finds himself regretting taking the job on. However, the government seem determined that he be the one to do the job, and for a very specific reason. Can Matlock survive being used as a pawn by the US government long enough to discover what's really going on?
The plot here is very well written. A lot of Ludlum's book, especially the more modern ones, rely a lot on modern technology. The beauty of this book is that the spy element is that much more believable and relies heavily on the individual as opposed to the technological world. It is set in the 1960s and 1970s when there were no mobile phones and computer technology was extremely limited in comparison to today. This means a more intense and twisting plot where human factors are more in tune with the plot, and the characters are all developed accordingly and with great skill. It is easy to visualise the majority of the novel as you are reading, and I give this one a big thumbs up.
The book is 352 pages long, very short by Ludlum's standards, and is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.54 and is well worth it.