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A third ride out for the camel club and oliver stone. This time Annabell Conroy is in need of their help. She in on the run from a thug Called Jerry Bagger after Annabell pulled off an audacious con on him.
This will proof to be the camels clubs most dangerous and risky task they have ever undertaken. Especially when they become aware of another deadly enemy that will expose Stones mysterious past, who is also starting to stack up bodies in his wake.
This is by far the best of the camel clubs series giving the reader an insight in to who oliver stone was and did in his murky past. Although the third story about the camel club, you do not have to have any knowledge of what went on before to enjoy this book.
With stories such as this, it is not surprising the Baldacci has won so many prestigious awards. This is a true page turner that you will not want to put down.
"Stone Cold" by David Baldacci
I picked this book up from the Bestsellers Table at our local library when rushing around madly a few weeks ago in preparation for a holiday up north. I knew nothing about the author, although the name did seem vaguely familiar, and I hadn't read anything about this particular book. It was a chunky looking book, so I thought it would keep me occupied for many a broadband-less hour on the farm.
So did I borrow in haste, repent at leisure?
Harry Finn seems an ordinary guy; his family know that he used to be a Navy Seal and that he now works in "security". They are a bit vague about what that entails on a day-to-day basis though. Testing the security of U.S. Government facilities by day, Harry uses his expertise, and some of his spare time, to systematically carry out assassinations, seeking retribution and revenge for past wrongs.
Casino owner, Jerry Bagger, is hunting down Annabelle Conroy who conned him out of a mind-blowing $40 million. He's a thug who will stop at nothing to exact his revenge for such an audacious con. Annabelle ends up enlisting the help of Oliver Stone and his Camel Club in a bid to outwit Bagger and his henchmen.
Then Stone's own murky past is brought to the fore and suddenly the Camel Club and Annabelle don't just have Bagger to deal with, but a far more deadly enemy whose resources far outweigh their own.
When Finn and Stone's paths finally cross, the whole story becomes a whole lot clearer but can the enemy become the ally to give them a fighting chance of survival?
Once I had started reading this, I suspected that some of the characters may have featured in a previous book by this writer; indeed a glance at the fly-leaf confirmed that he had published a book called "The Camel Club" and I surmised that this was where Stone and his sidekicks had been introduced to the reading public. Further investigation on the internet informed me that this was in fact the third novel in the Camel Club series.
This gap in my reading experience did not really detract from my enjoyment of this particular book and it can easily be read as a standalone novel.
Certain missing information bugged me a wee bit - how on earth did Annabelle con $40 million from Jerry Bagger? I'm intrigued - I will seek out the previous Camel Club books to satisfy my curiosity....may be this is what the author intended!
Despite the missing background detail, I found the characters and their relationships easy to establish. The author used the mundane day-to-day lives of some of the personalities, Harry Finn in particular, to humanise them. Harry could cold-heartedly poison someone at lunchtime but ensure he was back home in time to give his son a lift to mini-league practice.
Told in the third person throughout, it's a thriller. Essentially it is a cat-and-mouse tale, the wee man versus the big man (or the wee men versus the big men to be more accurate), good versus evil.....although the lines between good and "evil" are blurred to certain extent - more good versus not-so-good versus pretty darned evil.
The book switches perspective with almost every chapter, keeping you interested and picking up pace throughout until it is hurtling along, reminiscent of an episode of 24.
The chapters are short and snappy, (99 chapters in 511 pages) too short sometimes, in my opinion. Two pages for a chapter really doesn't always give you much to get your teeth into, but may be this is just this particular author's style.
I certainly enjoyed the book and I will certainly look out for more of his books at the library.
David Baldacci lives in Virginia and has been the New York Times best-selling author thirteen times - so shame on me for not reading his books before now. According to that font of all knowledge Wikipedia, he serves as a national ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and was named by People magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world in 1997. So - talented, charitable and handsome....don't you just hate some people...
Other books published to date:
The Simple Truth
Wish You Well
Last Man Standing
The Christmas Train
The Camel Club
The Whole Truth
The Camel Club series consist of The Camel Club, The Collectors and Stone Cold. The fourth book in the series, Divine Justice, is due to be released in the U.S. in November this year.
A fast paced, highly enjoyable thriller, with over 500 pages to keep you occupied on a cold winter's night. I'm giving it 4 stars.
Available on Amazon from £3.86 (new) and £1.25 (used) + P&P - it has four stars on Amazon too, but I only noticed that AFTER I had made my verdict (honest!)
Various copies on EBay auctions from 49p + P&P
I suspect it will also be available from your local or high street bookshop or you could borrow it TOTALLY free at the library.
For more information on the author - www.davidbaldacci.com