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on 18 May 2012
Firstly, just let me say that I love the works of David Baldacci, until this. I've waited eagerly for the lastest offering and was sorely disappointed. It was as if this book had been written by someone else. Badly expressed, laboured (I felt as if I was being talked down to a lot of the time) and just not Baldacci. I know from other reviews that it has been raved about - sorry, not for me.
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on 16 December 2012
Yes, it's a fast paced action thriller but the plot is so contrived and implausible and the characters are nearly all so stereotyped and unlikeable that well before half way through I was getting bored with it.

It contains so much of what is worst in American crime / thriller writing. The central character, Secret Agent Will Robie is depicted as an all American hero who almost single handedly defeats a bizarre terrorist plot. What a guy! Sure, he gets some help from a female FBI agent who also seems willing to put her own and other people's lives at risk, so, hey, she's cool too! They "gun" engines, do donut turns, run red lights etc and when they face gunfire from well trained and well equipped adversaries they are seemingly protected by a magical shield whilst death and destruction explodearound them. You get the picture.

And despite a bus full of passengers being blown up and numerous other murders being committed it seems that the FBI agent is the only person officially on the case. Nonsense, of course but it creates the vacuum of reality which allows Baldacci to hype up his hero.

No doubt this storyline would make for a half decent action movie but for me it just doesn't work as a book. It is one shallow chapter of contrived action after another and it simply gets tiresome.
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on 14 August 2014
This certainly did not seem like it had been written by Baldacci...or if it was then he has done it without any real thought for his readers.....maybe this was a 'contractual book' to fill a stop gap and get a book out regardless...I have read the 2nd in the Will Robie series The Hit, just to see if the plot was any better or made things believable...sadly it did not ...
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David Baldacci has written a superb action packed thriller. Will Robie is employed by a US government agency as a hit-killer. He has killed many with ruthless meticulous military style preparation on the orders of his superiors who perceive threats to US on a global basis or merely see people or situations as problems. A muscular rock-solid intelligent assassin turning 40,he had recently killed a heroin supplier (Rivera) in Edinburgh along with his bodyguards intent on raising finances to plan a military coup in Mexico, a potential threat to America. His next mission was the killing of Saudi Prince Talal in Tangier who had abducted and murdered US servicemen and was a threat to the West. He returns to Washington.

No mission for 3 months until instructed to kill a woman in her 30's with 2 children. Robie finds she is a government agent and told she is part of a terrorist organisation. After breaking into her apartment he finds her in bed with her 3 year old son. Conscience kicks in and despite the angry insistence of his handler to kill them both, Robie cannot. The situation is resolved when a single shot from a long range sniper kills both. Robie realises he is probably the next target and puts plan B into action and makes a run for it.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to a 14 year old smart and intelligent precocious 14 year old Julie Getty, in and out of foster care because of her parents' drug problems from which they are trying to recover. Julie loves her parents, escapes from the current negligent foster carers and heads back home. Unfortunately, she enounters an argument between a man and her father. Her parents are both shot dead. Julie witnesses the killer and realises she is in danger and needs to escape and goes on the run.

Coincidentally and fortuitously,both Robie and Julie end up on the same bus going from Washington to New York. Julie is under threat by an unknown man on the bus and Robie intervenes for her safety. This is the start of an aquaintance and unsual liaison between the two and a series of tense situations superbly narrated by the author. Any more information would be spoiling the events of which there are plenty.

Baldacci writes with incisive clear prose. Short paragraphs and chapters each leading on to changes and developments in the plot with introduction of many more influential and important characters essential to the narrative and storyline. The crux is mostly which of the two leading protagonists is the real target. The relationship between them becomes engaging.

This is fast-paced suspenseful writing with never a dull moment. Difficult to put down. Many times a guessing game as to who is doing what to whom and why. The clever twists and turns continue especially in the final chapters when the bad guy is found out, the second not totally unexpected but the ultimate climactic revelation was a total surprise and fittingly fulfilling. The mysteries of the book's contents become evident.
I found this novel cleverly constructed and totally enjoyable. More to come from the characters hopefully and David Baldacci.
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on 26 March 2014
Not one of Baldacci's best offerings - the plot takes a sharp detour towards the end; not what you could call a twist, but more of a change in direction. Not sure that I'll be keen to read any sequels...
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on 24 June 2014
This is the 4th of David Baldacci's books I have read. The story line is never boring and moves at a fast pace throughout the book. I am on my 3rd of his books in s many weeks.
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on 26 September 2015
I read the book before I read the reviews. The begiining was disjointed and I found it difficult to get the rythm of the book. The style came across as stilted initially but a 1/3 into the book it became more fluid and easy to read. I found I couldn't put it down and really wanted to finish it. The fragmented beginning made a lot of sense later in the book and I thought it was very clever. One criticism Is that the antagonist character in the end could have been developed a bit more.
All in all I enjoyed the book, I enjoyed the plot and yes maybe the plot was a bit fancifull - but it's fiction after all.
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Another good story from David Baldacci. This time he introduces a new character called Will Robie who is the world's premier assassin. The story starts quickly with Robie doing a couple of jobs and showing the reader how he works and his mindset.

On his next mission, Robie does something out of character and refuses an order. From here the story really picks up and although some things seem like a huge coincidence they are all explained in the book.

Although the story is about Robie, several minor and major characters share the story and the interactions are done well and in a believable way (although I must admit to having very limited knowledge of CIA assassins). As you progress through the tale, you empathise with most of the characters and the development is well done. The 14 year old girl character to be seemed the most stretched but worked well in the confines of the story.

You are never quite sure if everything, and everyone is what it seems. You almost end up as paranoid as Robie and this then makes you look at each person in the book to try and figure it out before the end (I did, but only just before being told!)

There is no doubt that Robie is the good guy, it's just everyone else you're in doubt of. At times it almost feels like an episode of 24, but this is no bad thing in my book.

I really enjoyed it and althoguh I'm a big fan of David Baldacci's work I think this is one of his better works and really looking forward to more.
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on 3 July 2012
Very few do suspense thrillers like David Baldacci. Even fewer have his mastery of an uncluttered writing style that zips the story along in a way that pushes you from page to page demanding more and more before you reluctantly set it aside until your next session.

In The Innocent we come across Will Robie, a hard-as-nails clandestine operative who moves from a government-sanctioned assassin into the murky realms of inter-agency dirty tricks. Robie is tasked with finding out what the hell is going on as the body count rises, pitching him in a race against time to pull apart the various layers of deceit and counter-deceit.

Along the way he teams up with a rebellious teenager who has been orphaned by the murders of her parents and who looks to be next in the crosshairs of someone, or some group, that needs to ensure her silence. Far from being a nuisance factor within the story the teenager is cleverly crafted by Baldacci into an interesting and refreshing character that becomes a large part of the book's appeal.

Robie also has to juggle with forging a working partnership with a female FBI Special Agent, who seems to have a romantic interest in him, not to mention a good-looking neighbour who just happens to work in the White House.

When it comes to America's multi-agency pinboard nobody has better insight than Baldacci. He takes readers into their murky depths and provides fascinating background on the anti-terrorist paranoia that pervades their every action. It's a world the author knows how to tackle - and he's not afraid to do it head-on.

Throw in the Baldacci's encyclopaedic knowledge of weaponry and black ops and you get a story that crackles with energy. It's one that challenges with twists and turns, gets you rooting early doors for the hero and heroines, and leaves you almost breathless as you pursue a finely-woven plot.

David Baldacci is one of those authors that you know will provide value-for-money. He does `readable' better than almost all his peers and leaves you with a sense of fulfilment when you reach the final page.

What he also does is leave you patiently waiting for his next instalment. In all these respects The Innocent ticks every box.
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on 4 May 2012
`The Innocent' by David Baldacci
Published by Macmillan, 4 May 2012. ISBN: 978-0-230-74925-2

Will Robie is an assassin. He kills to order, and sleeps soundly - when he sleeps that is. Returning to DC following two successful eliminations he awaits his next assignment. His instructions arrive on a memory stick and he has no reason to think that his latest job should be any different, but it doesn't work out that way, and Robie is suddenly the one being hunted.

Fourteen-year-old Julie Getty has been living with the foster-parents from hell and not being a girl to take any crap, she decides to head home. She arrives just in time to see both her parents killed, and so Julie is also on the run.

Aptly described as an action-packed thriller, when the lives of these two people collide, neither is sure which of them is the target, as they escape the most hair-raising situations. Both have a mission, Robie to find out about his last assignment, and Julie wants to know why her parents were murdered, and then kill the killer.

Both are edgy characters, used to acting alone, and neither given to trust anyone. But circumstances have thrown them together. Whilst the action moves at a cracking pace, the development of these two characters as they seek to keep one step ahead of their pursuers and work out just what is going on is a major strength of the book.

The devastation that they leave behind as they escape from one situation after another brings Robie into contact with Special Agent Nicole Vance, but how much should he tell her?

A real page-turner, couldn't put it down. Highly recommended.
------
Lizzie Hayes
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