Jane Stewart's Reviews > Absolute Power

Absolute Power by David Baldacci
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's review
Mar 09, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: mystery-suspense-thriller
Read in February, 2012

I did not enjoy the hopeless, helpless, anxious, unlucky, victim feel for most of the book. I also had problems with the narrator.

Bad things keep happening to good guys. I didn’t have anybody to root for or to be excited for. No good guy was smart enough. The bad guys kept outsmarting the good guys. And luck was on the side of the bad guys. I never smiled while reading this book. My feelings were unpleasant. One night I had trouble sleeping because I was anxious and worried about things in the book. The bottom line is that I did not enjoy the experience. I kept thinking about The Firm by John Grisham which was so different. Mitch the good guy in The Firm was a victim against powerful people. Yet he did smart things and I was rooting for him. I was excited watching him. I enjoyed that experience. Absolute Power creates anxiety. I wanted it to be over.

One guy who was supposed to be very smart guessed who the bad guy was. So why does he do something stupid, go off by himself and get killed? Also the detective was not smart enough and trusted the wrong people which caused more bad things to happen.

The author used a plot device I don’t like. Sometimes it’s ok, usually if the victim outsmarts the bad guy. But here, it was annoying. The bad guy says to a good guy, if you do this, I’ll kill your daughter. So this good guy turned wimpy, meek, and compliant. It would have been so much better if he did something cool to outwit the bad guy.

And then I was annoyed at the vague ending. A loves B and misses B. All of a sudden the door opens, and A sees someone enter. A “slowly got up and moved toward the door.” That’s the end. We don’t know who entered. We are supposed to believe it was B (I think), but the author doesn’t say. I prefer things spelled out.

Luther is a career burglar breaking into someone’s safe in a closet. Before he can leave, the wife comes home into the bedroom with a lover Alan, who happens to be the President of the United States. Alan is beating her. She attacks back. Alan calls for help and his secret service guys rush in and kill her. Luther is a witness and is on the run. Other characters connected to Luther become involved and end up in danger. They are Luther’s estranged daughter Kate and Kate’s former boyfriend Jack who is now engaged to a wealthy woman Jennifer. Others end up dead as well during the cover up.

I had problems with the narrator Scott Brick. I was frequently unhappy with his tone of voice. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I came up with the following words: sarcastic, sneering, smart-alecky, jaded, bored, cynical, condescending, arrogant, and angry. He did not express all of them all of the time, but he used them when I felt they did not fit the character or mood. Some characters were less sympathetic to me because of the tone of voice. Frank Muller narrated some of the Grisham books, and had a wonderful style and tone of voice. Scott was unpleasant. He reminded me of a hard nosed jaded detective from the 50s.

Unabridged audiobook reading time: 19 hrs and 7 mins. Swearing language: strong, including religious swear words. Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: about 10. They are mostly referred to with no details shown. Setting: 1995 mostly Middleton, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Book copyright: 1996. Genre: mystery suspense thriller. Ending: Bad guys get caught. Things are resolved satisfactorily, but I did not feel good.

I read one other book by David Baldacci. I gave 4 stars to The Winner copyright 1997.

“No Time Left” is a 34 minute short story by the same author. It was ok, but nothing special. It was about a hit man hired to kill someone.
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