The fourth in the Camel Club series is okay – at least I finished it – although I could have put it down at almost any time and not felt I was going to miss much. I don’t find Baldacci a totally satisfying writer and probably the only reason I still read his books is because my sister gives them to me.
In this story – in Baldacci’s constant theme of protecting America from its Spy Masters – John Carr (a.k.a. Oliver Stone) a recovering top assassin turned all American hero, is once again at odds with the government. He’s hired by the president to work for the government, then fired by someone in the government, then works on his own, then seems to be working with the government again…. It’s that kind of book. He avoids working with the Camel Club, then works with them, then tries to protect them, then endangers them… I could have skipped the ending even if it was needed to tie up a loose end.
The story opens with Carr nearly being blown up while walking in Lafayette Park across from the White House. The explosion turns out to be more than it seems as missed clue after missed clue is revealed. The theme of the story is about being misled by “clues” that turn out to be diversions. Unlike the other Camel Club stories in which the fuddy-duddy members of the Club are in focus and make the story character rich and fun, this story is more like The Clash of the Titans and the Titans aren’t all that interesting. The usual and predictable people wear the black hats.
This book, unlike other Camel Club stories, has a lot of Deus Ex Machina twists and turns in which things happen and no one knows why. Its solutions to its multiple problems are contrived and in many cases unbelievable. Baldacci is a good story teller but I find his books really badly constructed.
I give it three stars.