Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Deliver Us From Evil, by David Baldacci

Deliver Us From Evil
David Baldacci
Grand Central Publishing, 2010
416 pages

“Why do you need that?”
“Because I want to make sure I stop the pain before I kill you, of course.”
Abdul-Majeed tensed and began to chant under his breath.
“So your god is great, Abdul-Majeed?” said Waller, translating the words. “We will see how great he is to you.”

The mysterious super-operative known as Shaw is back to face an even more deadly foe in Deliver Us From Evil. Fresh off of Baldacci’s The Whole Truth (4.0 stars, Recommended) he finds himself tasked with bringing in monstrous Evan Waller, a businessman who’s dealing in sexual slavery and nuclear material has him in the crosshairs of Shaw’s organization. But there is far more to Evan Waller than Shaw knows. Shaw also doesn’t realize that he is not the only one targeting Waller and not everyone has the same agenda that he does. They all come together in the quiet French town of Provence, as everything quickly falls apart.

As always, Baldacci sets his scenes beautifully and provides his trademark sharp dialog. The action is intense at times, but the story lacks the punch of a great thriller relying on dramatic scenes instead of building the tension continuously. There is a feel of inevitability to the first half of the book, with a culmination that is quite predictable. The second half of the book is disjointed and at times feels likes some of the story that should have been there had been cut out of the book. And while the characters are interesting, they often feel too one-dimensional and I didn’t really feel any emotional tie to them.

The ending had some interesting twists, but it really didn’t engage me in the way The Whole Truth did. The characters seemed more clichéd on the second trip around and I’m not nearly as courteous about what happens to them next as I feel I should. That said, the book is very readable and I never felt bored. It’s a good story, but not a great one. I’m hoping for much better from Baldacci with this series the next time.

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