Back many years ago I used to go to our local library looking for something new and interesting. I would go through the stacks looking for books that had many copies, thinking that popular meant good. I’m no literary critic, but in that manner, I discovered Robert Ludlum, and gobbled up everything he wrote. If not good, at least he was enjoyable. He had a sense of authenticity about him, and his characters, while formulaic, were not the typical American-good-everyone-else-bad type. Anyone could be a villain, duplicity was all about, and power was always hidden in the shadows.

Ludlum died having written perhaps half of his final book, and other authors took over. I could tell, reading that last book, exactly where he passed on. The writing voice changed, the characters became cardboard cutouts.

Robert Ludlum is now a trademark, and the books are written by a committee named “Robert van Lustbader.” I’ve not read another since.

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Writers, ghosts and spooks


Back in the 1980s, hungry for fresh reading material, I wandered up and down the fiction aisles at our local library looking for books that had multiple copies on hand. These I knew would be popular, and so worth a look. In this manner I came across Robert Ludlum. I enjoyed his work, and read every one of his books. I was impressed that his heroes and villains could be of any nationality. Americans were not singled out as good guys, which was a nice relief from the constant barrage of patriotism and jingoism we get in the espionage/thriller mode.

Continue reading “Writers, ghosts and spooks”