After reading some "Right Wing"-leaning Thrillers (Flynn, Thor), I decided to branch out from them & check what else the genre has to offer. No. IAfter reading some "Right Wing"-leaning Thrillers (Flynn, Thor), I decided to branch out from them & check what else the genre has to offer. No. I wasn't looking for the counter-part to Vince Flynn or others of his ilk, but I was looking for something with a little less of a political "agenda"--an author who isn't using his novel as a political platform in order to espouse their ideology.
So I found this. & it was a great change.
Being my first Baldacci novel, I had chosen it carefully. When deciding on an international/political/espionage novel, I do do research into the reviews of them in order to not waste my time (or $$$ for that matter). I found Baldacci to be both "loved" & "hated" with equal measure. To top him off, there was no mention of a "Right Wing" or "Left Wing" slant within his books so this also made me pay attention. I wanted something more from him than just another Counter-terrorist operative in the "Jack Bauer" vein & when I saw this on the bestseller rack, read the plot summary, I knew I found the Baldacci I could take a chance on.
Instead of a Counter-terrorist Operative, we get a Government Sanctioned Assassin. So far, so good. Not often do we get this type of character in these days of terror (though with Putin's recent incursions into Ukraine controlled territories, we may see new "Cold War"-style novels come on the scene). Seriously, we don't so I considered it a form of "fresh air" within the Thriller genre.
The character, Will Robie, is hired to kill a government worker for unknown reasons & when he attempts to carry out the contract, he discovers in the middle of the job, it's a set-up. & now he is thrown into the middle of a cover up in which he has become a problem for the instigators. In his attempt to cover his butt, he becomes involved with a young girl who is somehow connected to the whole problem & soon Robie is playing "Guardian" to our smart-but-full-of-attitude teenager.
Before you say "This plot is like Leon: The Professional"--& that was my impression as I got to her character within the story--I must decouple that freight car from your point-of-argument train. Under no circumstances does Robie try to take our young lady under his wing to teach her the ways of the silent assassin. No. He goes into a pseudo-indifference mode which allows him to commit caring acts without endearing himself too much to the girl. Baldacci lets her be a teenager who possesses above-average intelligence & lets Robie know it without being annoying. This is a good thing because it lets you finish the book & not throw it against the wall.
There is a point where the book falls into NCIS mode--which will appeal to fans of that type of Thriller thread--& is the reason for my 3-star rating. I was hoping this aspect of the novel would be less instead of more but it seems Baldacci was comfortable with it & chose to go down that path a little further than others.
Will I read Baldacci again? I have the second Robie novel--The Hit--on my "to-read" list & sitting on my shelf. I think Baldacci is good at what he does & the fact he keeps the politics in neutral gear helps greatly. But I must confess, I do love a great "Tea Party" ideological rant from Vince Flynn through his character, Mitch Rapp--so hilarious!--& it makes me want to go back to him for sheer laughter.
(plus, the "Right Wing" Thriller douche bags really pile on the over-the-top action which is so comic book in its basis within reality. so good. so fun.)...more