The Day of the Jackal is arguably Forsyth's best thriller, first published in 1971 and reprinted almost every year since. It is a superb tale of an English assassin hired by French ex-army revolutionaries to kill President Charles de Gaulle.
In three parts, it deals with every aspect of the plot, the ensuing manhunt and finally the kill itself. It is superbly researched, with an astonishing level of detail which amounts to an extraordinary sense of verisimilitude. Some passages are so descriptive that it seems as though nothing is left to chance in the reader's imagination!
While the action takes place over only a few months, the plot moves along at a cracking pace led by the methodical precision of the killer and the methodical deliberation of the forces that would stop him, . Having read it, it would be quite possible to believe that one could use it as a handbook for beginner assassins, such is the level of detail surrounding the killer's highly professional actions.
Forsyth is a very gifted author, capable of spinning a plot to entice the reader as surely as the criminals must be entrapped. His work, particularly in this novel, is exemplary; it is gripping, highly entertaining and very cleverly written.