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An Accomplished Writer
on 16 April 2013
Will Robie and "Super Agent" Vance return (we first met them in The Innocent). The theme is a familiar one for devotees of Baldacci. The government of the USA is continuing its relentless campaign of killing off everyone with whom it disagrees. But it may not be that all its targets for murder are actually evil. And, of course, there is suspicion of there being some bad apples right at the top of the barrel.
Robie is told to hunt down and kill a CIA agent called Jessica Reel. She, like him, has spent her professional career killing people who have fallen out of favour with the government. But now she seems to have turned. She has embarked on her own, independent, killing campaign. And the victims are federal employees. Once again (it happens in almost all Baldacci books) the government has decided that Jessica must be killed, that she should not be allowed to stand trial. Robie is given the job.
But is Reel really a traitor? Could it be that the real traitors are right at the top of the federal security agencies? Is something horribly sinister going on? I shan't answer those questions. You must read the book yourselves. And I reckon you will enjoy it.
Of course, it is all dreadful nonsense. The story is grossly unbelievable. But that doesn't matter. Baldacci writes escapist stories. When we embark on reading them we happily accept that we are going to be required to believe extreme fantasy. At least I hope it is fantasy, for Mr Baldacci's sake. If the federal government of the USA really behaves in the way he portrays he is likely to be gunned down by a CIA agent himself (for revealing what they get up to).
This is splendid page-turning stuff. There are one or two holes in the story, but they can be easily overlooked. Towards the end Baldacci cuts a few corners (the set-piece finale is disappointing). But, on the whole, this is a good read. And Baldacci's obsession with bottoms seems to have been put aside (this is about the first of his books I have read which does not have the words "ass", "butt", "buttocks" or "bottom" on almost every page).