The Janson Directive (2002, Conspiracy Thriller) – 7/10 book review

Cast / crew
Writer: Robert Ludlum

Janson Directive, The (2002)

Paul Janson, a former Con-Ops legend and current high-level private security advisor, is requested by his former employers to retrieve munificent billionaire Peter Novak from the clutches of a Middle-Eastern country who plan to publicly execute him. Though reluctant to have anything to do with the American military again, Janson puts his own personal feelings aside to plan and lead the rescue of Peter Novak, a great man who was responsible for saving Janson’s life several years earlier.


Largely thrilling page-turner with an intriguing central conceit (through his charitable foundation a billionaire accomplishes what the American government can’t due to foreign policy and international etiquette, SPOILER except he is a fictitious character, played by multiple surgically altered agents, created by the American government to do just that). There are a couple of marvellous rug-pulling moments though the first one is undermined by the later revelation it was done on purpose (though it’s not clear why) and it has the unfortunate effect of making the entire story feel a bit of a cheat. Nevertheless, this ticks most of the boxes you want from a thriller novel.

This Robert Ludlum book contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue and graphic violence, unpleasant and sadistic torture scenes and sexuality.