The Day of the Jackal
I believe I last read this book thirty years ago. I anticipated some disappointment returning to it, but found that after an awkward start it held up better than expected. The writing is only functional (Forsyth drew on his background in journalism and wrote the whole thing in a month), and at times the proceedings start to feel like working through a crossword puzzle. The dialogue is painfully robotic. But still, the style suits the story of a precisionist machine-man facing off against the powers of international bureaucracy, and the ratcheting of suspense is well handled. The best such books read downhill, and this one picks up speed nicely as the noose tightens and gives a quick jerk at the end.