David Baldacci is still at the top of his game. Whether he is writing about "The Camel Club" guys, or a whole new set of characters, which is what he does in his latest novel The Innocent, Baldacci continues to impress. He is a meticulous writer who blasts his plot into a million pieces yet is able to pull it back together before the final page is turned.
This new novel focuses on a professional assassin named Will Robie. Robie kills people for a living and he works for our government. He gets his orders and then proceeds to the place where the termination will take place. He doesn't feel bad about these kills because the ones he is killing are bad guys. But then he gets an order to kill that he thinks is wrong. When he disobeys his orders this puts him on the run from the person who was his "handler."
Along the way he prevents another murder involving a fourteen year old girl named Julie. Julie's parents have been killed and now someone is trying to kill her. Knowing how that feels, Robie decides to take her along with him. This is the first time Robie has let his conscience control his actions and it may end up getting him killed and Julie killed.
While protecting Julie and trying to keep them both alive, Robie manages to have a relationship with a White House staffer. This is another out of the ordinary action for Robie as he usually does not have time for this type of relationship.
Baldacci includes a string of murders in his plot and somehow must make sense of them all before his book ends. It seems all the "balls in the air" can't be caught and explained but somehow Baldacci does it, and does it convincingly. When the story is over the reader feels everything has been followed through on and all the necessary pieces are in place.
Baldacci showed evidence of being this kind of "complete" writer with his first novel Absolute Power. He has honed his skills with each successive book and each one is a little bit better than the one that preceded it. Not many authors can have that said about their writing and have it be true.
The Innocent is vintage Baldacci. It has all of his required elements in that it has a less than perfect hero, a plot that includes a possibly secret government sect that works for evil, a smidgen of a romance, and a conclusion that wraps everything up logically. It is all there in this book and presented in his best fashion.
The Innocent is published by Grand Central Publishing. It contains 422 pages and sells for $27.99.
Jackie K Cooper