The Day of the Jackal

by

Author: Frederick Forsyth
Title: The Day of the Jackal: 40th Anniversary Edition
Genre: Historical Thriller
Publication Date: May 2, 2011
Number of Pages: 416 pages
Geographical Setting: Europe – London, France, Germany
Time Period: 1960’s

Plot Summary:

A theme with an urgent matter shrouded in secrecy. The events takes place in the 1960’s Europe – a page turner that keeps you at the edge of your seat. The story unfolds gradually and builds in intensity. A couple of unsuccessful attempts had previously been made to assassinate Charles de Gaulle, President of France by some disgruntled members of the opposition group. Eventually, a decision is reached for a final assassination attempt-which has to be fool proof. An unknown, one man professional killer is hired to do the job. To keep his identity secret, he would take on a code name-The Jackal. Secret meetings are held, payment arrangements made and the killer let loose. As we get a step by step account of how the killer prepares for his job, tension gradually builds up. The government authorities somehow learn of the plot, this then sets off a roller coaster of events, leading to an intense man hunt for the assassin which moves the story at a very rapid pace. The various plans and schemes on how to capture the assassin are shrouded in secrecy making the story all the more suspenseful. As the story progresses, you are nervous as you watch the killer just one step ahead of the police. The book has multiple plots told from an omniscient point of view. This allows the reader to see into the minds of all the characters which adds to the tension. Each chapter ends with a cliff hanger increasing the sense of anticipation. Background details and era are well portrayed by use of such elements as “rotary” phones and “Citroen” cars. You also hear frequent use of French and Germain during dialogues. This is a must read for any thriller fan- this book has you on edge the entire time!

Appeal terms:
Gripping, intricately plotted, compelling, engrossing, insightful, informative, engaging, multiple plot, tense, suspense, thrilling, edgy, plot-driven

3 Terms that best describe the book:
Suspense, thrilling, intricately plotted

Subject terms:
Assassinations, assassins, attempted assassination, British in France, Conspiracies, Detectives, Disguises, Secrete agents, the sixties (20th century) Secret service, Intelligent officers, France

3 Fiction read-aikes:

The Columbus Affair: A Novel – Berry, Steve

This is another suspenseful historical thriller that deals with kidnapping, lies and murders. Similar to The Day of the Jackal, a strong sense of the unknown pervades the story with the protagonist being an unknown investigator with no background, no history and no trails who embarks on a treasure hunt. The story also takes place across country lines from Florida across Europe and Jamaica with a strong historical feel – landscapes and culture. And just as in The Day of the Jackal, the book ends with a mysterious twist and leaves you with question to ponder. I believe readers of The Day of the Jackal would enjoy such similar elements.

Private games By: Patterson, James

Those who loved the lone villain theme in Day of the Jackal would also enjoy this book as it incorporates an investigative one man chase. The book has a modern feel which some might appreciate. A page turner, with complicated story line.

The Innocent by David Baldacci

A thriller as The Day of the Jackal. Set in America, a hit man is sent to eliminate a target and-something goes wrong. Action packed with a lot of twists and turns. Those who loved the The Day of the Jackal but would prefer an American setting would welcome this.

Non –fiction read-alikes:

The murder of King Tut by James Patterson

This book delves into the controversial murder of King Tut. In a fast paced narrative, Paterson gives a look into the mystery surrounding the death of the Egyptian king. Also a page turner, mysterious and controversial.

Kill or Capture by Matthew Alexander

This is a thrilling true story of how the task force chased down an Al Qaeda leader. The book is a compelling personal account of all the interrogations that went on in this capture. Those mystified by works of the OAU and the police department in The Day of the Jackal would appreciate this insight.

Confessions of a Hit man by John Perkins

Anyone interested in real life account of shady deals in the American corporations and its effect in the global market would love this. Just as the various issues pertaining to the SAC , OAU the Germans etc. found in The Day of the Jackal –

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