The Day of the Jackal

  • by Frederick Forsyth
  • Narrated by Simon Prebble
  • 13 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

One of the most celebrated thrillers ever written, The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of an anonymous Englishman who in, the spring of 1963, was hired by Colonel Marc Rodin, operations chief of the O.A.S., to assassinate General de Gaulle.
France was infuriated by Charles de Gaulle's withdrawal from Algeria, and there were six known attempts to assassinate the general that failed. This novel dramatizes the seventh, mostly deadly attempt, involving a professional killer for hire who would be unknown to the French Police. His code name was Jackal, his price half a million dollars, and his demand total secrecy, even from his employers.
Step by painstaking step, we follow the Jackal in his meticulous planning, from the fashioning of a specially made rifle to the devising of his approach to the time and the place where the general is to meet the Jackal's bullet. The only obstacle in his path is a small, diffident, rumpled policeman, who happens to be considered by his boss the best detective in France: Deputy Commissaire Claude Lebel.


What the Critics Say

"A masterpiece tour de force of crisp, sharp, suspenseful writing." (Wall Street Journal)
"Compelling, utterly enthralling....Some of the tensest thriller writing I can remember reading." (Sunday Express, London)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Tight & fantastic political/cat-and-mouse thriller

Edgar award winner 'The Day of the Jackal' is well-paced, originally plotted and filled with amazing research. Forsyth clearly belongs among the top ranks of the great thriller writers. He is often immitated (Clancy, Thor, McBain) but NEVER really replicated.

Beyond the merits of the novel itself, the Day of the Jackal has also influenced actual assassins (Yigal Amir and Vladimir Arutinian), inspired the nickname for Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (aka Carlos the 'Jackal') and provided both an inspiration to and techniques for several genearations of identiy thieves. That is a helluva lot for just one novel's resume.
Read full review

- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Wonderful intellectual suspense.

Intricate, smart plotting. Excellent ending.

This is a classic - a great experience. I’m frequently smiling at the smart and unexpected actions. Leading the investigation is homicide detective Lebel. He is short, rumpled, quiet, unassuming, and blinks a lot when criticized. There are no scenes with his wife, but we hear that he is henpecked. Don’t expect a charismatic hero. This is a humble man doing smart things in a methodical manner. I loved the nuanced characters. I was sympathetic to some of the bad guys and disliked some of the good guys. Jackal is a bad guy but he does not humiliate or do despicable things to people. He just kills anyone who threatens him. I admired his intelligence and competence. The OAS guys are bad guys, but they have idealistic motives, even though warped. They’re not out to kill masses of people. They just want to kill one guy.

Government officials learn that the OAS hired a foreigner to assassinate the French president. The killer’s code name is Jackal. They cannot talk to the OAS because they are hiding in another country. Lebel is brought in to lead the search to find the Jackal. I’m shaking my head thinking where does he start? What can he do? And then I am so impressed with the method of investigating and uncovering clues. On the other side, I was impressed and intrigued with many smart things the Jackal did.

I love this method of writing - classic. There is no jumping around in time. Things are told in a logical and linear method. In many cases when a new character is introduced, a short background is given showing his motivations, and then the current day story continues. This works well. And all scenes have natural endings. The author doesn’t stop a scene in the middle of a sentence. (Stephen King are you listening?)

I am frequently annoyed with other authors who leave scenes before a natural end and jump to another character, place, or time. For example, Mary walks into a room, hears a noise, and is hit. The next sentence is about another character in another place. This is not story suspense. It’s manipulation to create artificial suspense. I am angry at the author. My anger takes me out of the story. Forsyth does suspense perfectly in this book. For example, Lebel gets a clue about the Jackal. I feel hopeful. POV switches to Jackal who is doing things according to plan. He hears that Lebel learned something, so Jackal changes his plan and does something different. I’m impressed. POV then switches to Lebel’s guys who arrive at Jackal’s location but don’t find him because Jackal left an hour earlier. I’m thinking oh no what will they do next? Even though the POV is switching, the actions flow in a logical time line. The result is a chess game - watching each player respond and make his next move. This was a perfect way to maintain suspense throughout the book.

I had only one complaint. I wanted to see revenge and consequences for Jacqueline and the man she seduced. It probably happened but I didn’t get to see it.

Genre: suspense thriller.
Ending: Excellent and feel good.
Read full review

- Jane

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-03-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.