by Marv Lachman

ROBERT LUDLUM – The Road to Gandalfo. Bantam, paperback, 1982. First published as by Michael Shepherd, Dial Press, hardcover, 1975.

   I’ve never been able to finish a Robert Ludlum novel, and Bantam’s reprint of The Road to Gandolfo, a book he published in 1975 as Michael Shepherd, was no exception.

   It starts with a promising premise, a plot to kidnap the Pope. However, things go rapidly downhill with indifferent narrative, uninteresting characters, and what the publisher (probably meaning it as a compliment) calls “serpentine plotting.”

   There are no snakes in the plot; that hissing sound you heard was this reviewer. Meanwhile, Mr. Ludlum continues to smile on his way to the bank.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 8, No. 5, Sept-Oct 1986.