The Guilty by David Baldacci – a Review

The Guilty by David Baldacci – a Review

 

The GuiltyAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Description:
Will Robie is the government’s most professional, disciplined, and lethal assassin. He infiltrates the most hostile countries in the world, defeats our enemies’ advanced security measures, and eliminates threats before they ever reach our shores.

But now, his skills have left him. Sent overseas on a critical assignment, he fails, unable to pull the trigger. Absent his talents, Robie is a man without a mission, and without a purpose.

To recover what he has lost, Robie must confront what he has tried to forget for over twenty years: his own past.

THE GUILTY

Will Robie escaped his small Gulf Coast hometown of Cantrell, Mississippi after high school, severing all personal ties, and never looked back. Not once. Not until the unimaginable occurs. His father, Dan Robie, has been arrested and charged with murder.

Father and son haven’t spoken or seen each other since the day Robie left town. In that time, Dan Robie-a local attorney and pillar of the community-has been elected town judge. Despite this, most of Cantrell is aligned against Dan. His guilt is assumed.

To make matters worse, Dan has refused to do anything to defend himself. When Robie tries to help, his father responds only with anger and defiance. Could Dan really be guilty?

With the equally formidable Jessica Reel at his side, Robie ignores his father’s wishes and begins his own desperate investigation into the case. But Robie is now a stranger to his hometown, an outsider, a man who has forsaken his past and his family. His attempts to save his father are met with distrust and skepticism . . . and violence.

Unlike the missions Robie undertook in the service of his country, where his target was clearly defined, digging into his father’s case only reveals more questions. Robie is drawn into the hidden underside of Cantrell, where he must face the unexpected and possibly deadly consequences of the long-ago choices made by father and son. And this time, there may be no escape for either of them.

 

 

Review:

The Guilty by David Baldacci is the 4th book in his Will Robie series. I love this series, but then again, I love most of whatever David Baldacci writes.

The Guilty picks up where Will is on assignment as an elite CIA Assassin, where he accidently kills a child. He cannot get past this horrific memory, and he is no longer sure of himself. Will has not seen his father since he left home over 20 years ago, and now he learns his father has been arrested for murder. He is given time off, and decides to go back home to Mississippi and find out what has happened to his father all those years he was gone.

When Will tries to visit his father, he is turned away. He begins his investigation on what his father has been up to; he is surprised to learn that his father remarried, has a son, and was a judge; this from a man who was always angry and would beat him. Without the help of his father, Will finds himself in the middle of something much larger than a simple murder for revenge. The past will rear its ugly head, with many surprises, and twists that will involve many people.

It is when Jessica Reel, Will’s friend and sometimes partner joins him to help decipher the truth that things get even more exciting. I love to watch Will and Jessica work together in solving crimes, and how easily they dispatch their enemies. They are an unbeatable team. However, as they get closer to the truth, the stakes are high, and the danger escalates.

When his father is out on bail, Will learns more about his father, that will open him up to reveal more of himself.   The last half of the book was a thriller, which I could not put down. Just when I thought I knew who the murderer was, I was blindsided by all the revelations, and twists as we reached the exciting tense action packed climax. Needless to say, I was very surprised at end.

To tell too much more would be spoilers. The Guilty is a top notch mystery, suspense thriller that holds you on the edge of your seat, not to mention when both of their lives will hang by a thread. Will Robie and Jessica Reel are great team (even if they are the toughest and best assassins). I hope Baldacci keeps them together.  

Once again, David Baldacci gives us another fabulous thriller, which we have all come to expect from him, and throughout the book, there was not a dull moment. I suggest you read this series.

Reviewed by Barb

 

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The Escape – The Finisher by David Baldacci – Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

The Escape – The Finisher by David Baldacci – Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

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The Escape
John Puller series – Book #3
by David Baldacci
Release Date: November 18, 2014

The Escape

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository / BAM

Description:
It’s a prison unlike any other. Military discipline rules. Its security systems are unmatched. None of its prisoners dream of escaping. They know it’s impossible.

Until now.

John Puller’s older brother, Robert, was convicted of treason and national security crimes. His inexplicable escape from prison makes him the most wanted criminal in the country. Some in the government believe that John Puller represents their best chance at capturing Robert alive, and so Puller takes on the burden of bringing his brother in to face justice.

But Puller quickly discovers that there are others pursuing his brother, who only see Robert as a traitor and are unconcerned if he survives. Puller is in turn pushed into an uneasy, fraught partnership with another agent, who may have an agenda of her own.

They dig more deeply into the case together, and Puller finds that not only are her allegiances unclear, but that there are troubling details about his brother’s conviction….and that someone is out there who doesn’t want the truth to ever come to light. As the nationwide manhunt for Robert grows more urgent, Puller’s masterful skills as an investigator and strength as a fighter may not be enough to save his brother—or himself.

 

Review:
The Escape by David Baldacci is the 3rd book in his John Puller series. I am a huge fan of Baldacci, as with every book he writes, he leaves me amazed how he could write such a mesmerizing story every time. I have not read the John Puller series until this book, and after reading this, I will go back to read the first two. Having said that, it was easy to read this as a standalone. Baldacci gives us enough information to allow use to know the characters, and John Puller.  

The Escape starts inside a military prison that has maximum security beyond normal, and impossible to escape. But after a major storm knocks out the power, including a second generator, shots are fired, and an explosion. When everything is restored, a prisoner is missing. Robert Puller, a former high ranking intelligence officer, has been in prison for two years, having been convicted for treason, and now he has escaped, leaving all high ranking Military officials in a state of panic.

John Puller, who is one of the army’s best military investigators is called in to help find his brother, as well as how the security breach at the prison was done. John is a by the book no nonsense investigator, who loyalty has always been to his country. Though it is his brother, he is determined to find him. Before he can get too far, he is forced work with intelligence officer Veronica Knox, who was sent to work with John. As they both begin putting the pieces together of the escape, as well as deciphering who was the dead body that was found in Robert Puller’s cell, it becomes apparent there is more to this story, then just an escape. Though Knox and Puller find it hard to trust each other, they slowly come to the realization that there is a conspiracy that is very high up. Was Robert Puller really guilty of treason?

The story does go back and forth early between John and Veronica investigating, and Robert, who has changed his appearance, doing his own investigation to clear his name. What follows is an extremely intense, suspenseful and exciting adventure in the hunt to find Robert Puller, as well as all the twists, surprises and turns that leave you blindsided. Baldacci pulls you into this fantastic story from the start, and never let’s go even through the end. This was such an enthralling story, with a wild climatic ending, that amazed me how all the pieces so neatly and almost impossibly fell into place.

As I have said earlier, I love the writing of David Baldacci. I have read his Camel Club (my favorite), Will Robie, and King & Maxwell series. Now I will be adding on the John Puller series. If you like suspense thrillers, political intrigues, military or CIA agents as our lead characters, no one writes these better then Baldacci. He weaves such a great story, with so many twists, detailed information, betrayals, it simply amazes me how he can do all of this, and so flawlessly. Needless to say, I loved The Escape. If you have not read David Baldacci, you are missing gems.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


The Finisher

by David Baldacci
Release Date: March 4, 2014

The Finisher

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository / BAM


Description:

Welcome to Wormwood: a place where curiosity is discouraged and no one has ever left.

Until one girl, Vega Jane, discovers a map that suggests a mysterious world beyond the walls. A world with possibilities and creatures beyond her imagining.

But she will be forced to fight for her freedom. And unravelling the truth may cost Vega her life.

 

Review:
The Finisher by David Baldacci is the first book in his new YA fantasy series. When I started reading The Finisher, we learn about a place called Wormwood, and a young 14 year old girl name Vega Jane, who would be our heroine.

Vega and her brother, John, live in the slums. They barely have enough to eat each day. Vega works at The Stacks, putting finishing touches to items for those who have money. Her title is the Finisher, and her only friend there is Quentin Herms, who taught her everything. The story begins when Quentin disappears into the Quag, a forbidden forest that surrounds Wormwood, and has dangerous creatures that will kill them as soon as they step into the Quag. No one must ever leave Wormwood, which in itself is depressing.

The Wormwood council knows that Vega was close to Quentin, and they put pressure on her to find out what she knows. What they do not know is that she caught a glimpse of him, as he stepped into the Quag. But Vega knows she cannot reveal that as many of those men who work for the council do not like her, something she feels has to do with her family, who are no longer with her. Early on there was a lot of ground work for the world building, and a ¼ of the way in, I wasn’t sure if this was for me. But I am glad I stayed with it, as it became a great story.

As Vega tries to find the truth about Quentin, and what the Quag really is, she faces an uphill battle against thet attitude of the men in Wormwood; the Council and a powerful adversary, who has powers beyond what anyone can imagine. All Vega really has is Delpha, her friend, especially after her brother moves to become part of the upper class. As she investigates the past and history of Wormwood, she begins to discover magical things that will help her in what she will face in the future. In some scary moments, she sees creatures, as well as being pulled into the past. Vega will find herself in a competition that is meant for men only, and she needs to survive or they will put her away or worst yet, kill her.

Vega will use everything she has, as well as some magical tools that were cool…a chain that helps her fly, a stone that heals, and a magical sword. Those were fun, as this is fantasy. This was really a different type of world, with strange customs, and language, which Baldacci used throughout. But most of all, the last half of the book was extremely nerve wrecking and exciting. Vega fought against prejudice, and all odds, but when all was said and done, she had everyone including us rooting for her. The ending has sort of a partial resolution, but it is a cliffhanger that cries for another book.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Interview-RED
We were very excited and honored to be asked to participate in a telephone interview with David Baldacci.  David is promoting his wonderful new release, The Escape, as well as talk about his previously released, The Finisher, a YA Fantasy.  We have selected some of these great questions from the conference call that we thought you would enjoy.

 

In your books, the female characters are as tough as the men and then some. I’m thinking of Michelle Maxwell. I’m thinking of course of Vega Jane in your young adult novel. Why so many strong women in your pages? Why is this something that interests you?

David: I don’t write about damsels in distress because I don’t happen to know any. I have a lot of guy friends that need a lot of help and not so much the women.

I grew up with a force of nature in my mother. And I’m married to a force of nature with my wife, whose name is Michelle. So, if you’re wondering who the role model for Michelle Maxwell was, you have the answer. So, that’s why.

What I found amazing in your stories is the detail that flows seamlessly. My question is not the research part, but how you set your story. Are you a plotter with some sort of outline, or a pantser writing with the flow?

David: I don’t do really major outlines for my novels. I’ve always thought, rightly or wrongly, that if I wrote from an outline it would really read to everyone like I wrote from an outline where everything’s sort of neatly tied together and just flows in just the right way. And life is not really like that.

So, a lot of what I do is sort of the seat of my pants. I do get into the story, and I have the character flow in my head and I have plot ideas in my head. But, I just sit down in front of my computer or sometimes in front of a legal pad and just let it fly and see what works.

And some days I think I’m going to go in one direction but I happen to go in another because it just feels right. I think my instincts over the years have served me well. So, I really just like to innovate and be creative right there while I’m sitting down in front of the screen and just let the words pop out of me.

I know it feels like it’s almost happening spontaneously, but I’ve always thought the subconscious is just another way of saying things you’ve been thinking about a long time at a certain level, and they bubble to the surface. And we think we just thought of them, but actually we’ve been ruminating on them for a long time.

And that’s the way I like to write. I’ll do little mini outlines here and there for a particular chapter to make sure that I get all the points in there that I want to have. But, for the broader strokes, you know, all of it’s in my head and I just like to sit down and play around with it and see where it takes me.

What was your inspiration for The Camel Club?  Do you think you’ll go back to this series.

David:  People love The Camel Club.

I just wanted to do something really different where I had an ensemble cast of some guys who had had some mileage on them. They weren’t particularly young or fit anymore. And in many ways, people looked at them as being past their prime.

But, I thought that they had a lot of fuel left in the tank and that, together as a group, they were greater than they were apart. And again, it was just another sort of matter of me stretching my creative wings and going in a different direction and trying to build something I’d never built before.

And a lot of the characteristics they’ve had, people over the years–you know, I’ve observed some of these idiosyncrasies and physical mannerisms and things in people and grafted them onto some of the characters in The Camel Club. I’ve never taken anybody from real life and plopped them whole cloth into a book, but certainly bits and pieces of observations I’ve made over the years.

And I just wanted to build this really quirky kind of group that were sort of conspiracy theorists but had some specialized background and knowledge that actually made them effective doing what they did. And I didn’t want them to be, you know, in official power and I didn’t want them to be associated with any organization. I just wanted them to be people out there who had some unique skills and had some mileage on them, and put them into adventures and situations where they could show they still had a lot of worth and value left.

And it turned out to be really fun. When I wrote the first one, The Camel Club, I wasn’t thinking they were going to be a series. I tell you, when I wrote the last book I was thinking these guys are going to come back.  The Camel Club will ride again!

I wanted to talk about your choice to write fantasy and The Finisher, because it’s not just sort of a realistic story in a fantasy setting, you know, like a bunch of wizards at Hogwarts who are really just like regular kids. I mean, it has the full fantasy world, the history, the vocabulary.   I just wondered if you had the idea to write fantasy first and kind of built the world around it, or did you have this idea of the fantasy world that drove the plot and the genre that you decided to tackle?

David: The Finisher was really a passion project for me. My wife gave me a blank page book on Christmas day in 2008. And I would warn anybody who has a writer in their family, never give them blank pieces of paper on a major holiday because you will never see them for the rest of the day.

I just scooted off to my little cubby and started. I wrote the name down, Vega Jane, and I knew she was going to be the lead character, but I didn’t know what she was going to be doing. And it took me over four years to finally figure out the world that I wanted to place her in, what her role would be in that, and what the total story, plot, and narrative would be and what the other characters around her would be like.

So, I knew that I wanted to create an entirely new world. I didn’t want to place, you know, just an individual in the world as we know it now. So, when you build a world like that, it takes a lot of time and effort and thinking. And I had to put a lot of research into that, because in The Finisher a lot of the terms and references come from mythology, classical works of fantasy, religion.

I wanted to build this world in a smart way. I didn’t want to start naming stuff for the habit of naming something. I–you know, for instance, the jabbit, the giant serpent in the story, is actually based on Persian mythology. In their mythology, it’s called a dabbet, but I thought a jabbit was a much better term. And it just seemed like something that actually a snake would do, so I had a lot of fun with those.

And in putting the whole world together, I tried to do it as meticulously and carefully as I could. And what I did was, I didn’t create a huge world and address is superficially. I built a very small world, a village and a Quag around it, and that was it with a limited number of characters. But, I gave great depth to everything that I wrote about.        

You do a lot of work for libraries and literacy. You have a family literacy foundation, and this is a cause that you’ve been very passionate about.  And, you know, the world gets more and more digital and sometimes people say, “Why are books still important? Why are people reading stories?” Why do you do this work that you do?

David:  I was a library rat as a kid. And we’ve always had stories.  You know, humankind evolved around stories, whether it was hieroglyphics or drawings on the wall, tales that were told down, oral histories provided. So, we are a race and a civilization that grew up with stories and we love stories, because it communicates a lot of things from one generation to the next.

And libraries, for me, I’ve always considered them the foundation of the democracy. You walk into a building and it’s filled full with books. But, it’s really filled with ideas and diversity of opinion, and the things that are very important to people in a free and open society.

So, it really doesn’t matter how people read. I don’t care if you read on an e-book or you listened on an audio book or you read a paperback or a hardcover. What matters is that you read. You read the story.

And I’ve always thought that readers are far more interesting than people who don’t read, because you just are exposed to so much more. Your level of tolerance is far higher. You’re open-minded and you’re open to new ideas and opinions.

And it just makes you a much better, well-rounded person, plus the fact that, you know, reading is the most fundamental skill you’ll ever have. And without it, you can never achieve your potential. And so, people should just dive into as many books as they possible can.

 

 

About The Author

David Baldacci


David Baldacci is a global #1 bestselling author. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with over 110 million copies in print; several have been adapted for both feature film and television. David Baldacci is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America. Still a resident of his native Virginia, he invites you to visit him at www.DavidBaldacci.com and his foundation at www.WishYouWellFoundation.org.

WebsiteFacebook / Twitter / Goodreads

 

 

 

giveaway
Grand Central Publishing and Scholastic are graciously offering a wonderful David Baldacci 4 book prize pack to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.
                       The John Puller series – Zero Day, The Forgotten, and The Escape   
                       The Finisher – YA Fantasy      

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8. Giveaway runs from December 10 to 15, 2014

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The Target by David Baldacci – a Review

The Target by David Baldacci – a Review

 

The Target

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository

Description:
The President knows it’s a perilous, high-risk assignment. If he gives the order, he has the opportunity to take down a global menace, once and for all. If the mission fails, he would face certain impeachment, and the threats against the nation would multiply. So the president turns to the one team that can pull off the impossible: Will Robie and his partner, Jessica Reel.

Together, Robie and Reel’s talents as assassins are unmatched. But there are some in power who don’t trust the pair. They doubt their willingness to follow orders. And they will do anything to see that the two assassins succeed, but that they do not survive.

As they prepare for their mission, Reel faces a personal crisis that could well lead old enemies right to her doorstep, resurrecting the ghosts of her earlier life and bringing stark danger to all those close to her. And all the while, Robie and Reel are stalked by a new adversary: an unknown and unlikely assassin, a woman who has trained her entire life to kill, and who has her own list of targets–a list that includes Will Robie and Jessica Reel.

 

Review:

The Target by David Baldacci is the third book in his wonderful Will Robie series.  I first became a big fan of Baldacci when reading his awesome Camel Club series, and this series is equally as good.  Baldacci writes political thrillers that are action packed, suspenseful stories, and super heroes/heroines.

The Target is about CIA assassin Will Robie and his female counter part, Jessica Reel, as they are called in to help on a major mission that is backed by the President. In fact, this mission is so secret, only the President, CIA Director and National Security know of this mission. If it fails, the consequences will be disastrous.

In the last book, Robie joined hands with Reel, who had gone rogue, to stop American traitors, putting themselves on the line, with everyone gunning for them.  But they survived, and in the end they both received medals.  The CIA director resents them, and now before they can go on this mission, he puts them through a tense, exhaustive, life threatening training session, to prove that they are still the best.  

But before the mission can begin, everything goes wrong, and the President calls Robie and Reel in to help alleviate a dangerous situation with North Korea.   Robie and Reel are the best at what they do, and both the President & the CIA Director know that they are the only ones who can get them out of this.  To help safe face and prevent a war, they are sent to France to remove the only person who can identify the US as participants in this misfired attempt against the leader of North Korea. 

From the start, we are also given a glimpse at two other backstories.  One a young Korean lady, who came from a concentration camp, with deplorable conditions, and who eventually has become their best assassin.  We see her discover the original plot, then given the assignment for revenge against the Americans.  Along the way, we learn from her memories, the torture she endured to get where she is today, which plays a major part in this exciting race to the finish.

The other story was about an old man on death row, who is considered one of the most dangerous and violent criminals.  He however is dying of cancer, and wants to meet his daughter. We know he is evil, but we have no idea what his real plan is.  

Most of this is early on the book when it sets the stage for an exciting, amazing storyline that has you holding your breath many times.  I do not want to give spoilers, but there is so much action, and even though you know there isn’t a better team than Robie and Reel, we thought so many times this was the end. If you want a thriller, excitement, non-stop action and a story, with so many twists, as well as a hero and heroine that you marvel at; then The Target by David Baldacci is not to be missed.

Reviewed by Barb

 

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The Hit by David Baldacci – a Review

The Hit by David Baldacci – a Review

 

The Hit
Links to order The Hit:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble / The Book Depository / Kobo

Description:
From David Baldacci–#1 bestselling author and one of the world’s most popular, widely read storytellers–comes the most thrilling novel of the year. THE HIT Will Robie is a master of killing. A highly skilled assassin, Robie is the man the U.S. government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst-enemies of the state, monsters committed to harming untold numbers of innocent victims. No one else can match Robie’s talents as a hitman…no one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, equally professional and dangerous, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now, she’s gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency. To stop one of their own, the government looks again to Will Robie. His mission: bring in Reel, dead or alive. Only a killer can catch another killer, they tell him. But as Robie pursues Reel, he quickly finds that there is more to her betrayal than meets the eye. Her attacks on the agency conceal a larger threat, a threat that could send shockwaves through the U.S. government and around the world

Review:

The Hit by David Baldacci is another of his fantastic suspense thriller novels.  I have not  read every single Baldacci book, but I love two of his series, and this is now the third series I thoroughly enjoy.  What is great about Baldacci you ask?  He is a masterful storyteller, with such in depth wonderful characters, and he holds you at the edge of your seat from beginning to end. If you think you know what will happen, trust me, you will never see what is coming, as Baldacci continually pulls surprises and twists.  But the best thing about his novels, they are superb, and well written, that when you are finished with the book, you will be thinking about it for days.

The Hit is the second book with Will Robie as the hero.  Will is a government assassin and the best in his field. Whether it is the CIA, Homeland Security, FBI or other hidden government divisions, they have their own top secret people to eliminate traitors, foreign undesirables, or rogue agents.  In this story, Will is assigned to stop Jessica Reel, who is considered a rogue agent, having just killed two top government employees. Jessica is also considered the best in her field, an assassin on par with Will Robie.  Now she has gone rogue, and Will must find her to bring her back…dead or alive.

Will has no qualms about doing his job, even though he is baffled why Reel went off the grid. Jessica manages to be one step ahead of Will, but as he gets closer, Will begins to find disturbing clues that not all is as it appears to be.  Meeting with other top government officials, Will begins to suspect that perhaps Jessica is not a traitor, as they are telling him she is. Keeping his mind open, Will continues to search for Jessica, and try to discover why she is doing this.  Along the way, Will finds himself caught in a number of ambushes he suspects is not from Jessica Reel. 

There are a number of twists, and dangerous situations that are life threatening bringing Will and Jessica face to face, with each saving each other lives.  Rather then give out spoilers, what ensues is a major conspiracy that will bring the two of them together to discover the truth.  Even the two top assassins are no match for what the government traitors can and will do. With their lives constantly facing danger, and death defying escapes; they must also try to find the mastermind.  They must be one step ahead of the traps laid for them, and the double crosses they come across to stay alive, in order to break the conspiracy.

Will Will Robie find the truth?  Is Jessica to be trusted?  Who are the masterminds running the conspiracy?  Will they be able to survive?  You will need to read this book to find out. 

The Hit was a fabulous thriller that had you unable to put the book down.  David Baldacci has once again created a page burning story that had you guessing all the way, and so so well done.  The characters of Will Robie and Jessica Reel were so great, and though they are both hardened killers, you can’t help but care about them and root for them.  I loved this book, and respect Baldacci’s ability to continue creating these stories fresh every time, as well as making us like his lead characters, even if they are killers. If you have not read David Baldacci, and you like suspense thrillers, it is time you do so.

Reviewed by Barb

 

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