Tuesday, November 20, 2007

David Baldacci: Stone Cold

David Baldacci’s new book, Stone Cold features a third visit from Oliver Stone and the Camel Club. They are joined by their Secret Service friend, Alex Ford, whom we met in the fist book, The Camel Club, and by the con artist Annabelle Conroy, whom we met in The Collectors. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and tended to neglect my wife and granddaughter before finishing.

This time Oliver Stone’s past comes to haunt him, as former members of his CIA unit are being uncovered and murdered. At the same time, Annabelle’s victim from The Collectors is out to find and kill her. Oliver wants to help, but is concerned that his problems may put her in more danger than her own problems.

Often when I read the continuation of a series, I’ll go back and re-read from the beginning. I love Baldacci so much, and wanted to read this book so much that I decided not to this time. It was a mistake. The book is capable of standing on its own – sort of, but it had a lot of reference to back-story from the earlier books. Although I could remember the broad plots of the earlier stories, the details escaped me. Even though I can understand why Jerry Bagger wants to kill Annabelle, the real depth of the story is lost in my vague memory from The Collectors. I should be a little grateful; my poor memory helps me enjoy the re-reads.

In The Camel Club, Oliver Stone was a very quirky character. I liked that. He’s not so quirky now. He gets his real name back, and becomes more the infallible super-spy, paramilitary expert that we see in so many other books. I miss his quirkiness.

I’ve never read anything by Baldacci that I did not like. And I’ve read (and have in my library) everything listed in his “Also by” credits. That is still true.

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