Friday, October 2, 2009

The Whole Truth - by David Baldacci

I am a fan of David Baldacci's novels.  I have read many from his Camel Club series, his Sean King and Michelle Maxwell series, and others.  I picked up this book, then, with a well defined set of expectations.

In many ways, this book was indeed what I expected.  This was a political thriller pitting a powerful man, and his abuse of power, against an exceptionally skilled hero with a very complex past.  Nicholas Creel, heading the world's largest defense contractor, is a very wealthy man with very grand financial and socio-political goals.  His ambitions lead him to work with a perception management firm to manipulate world events.  Shaw is in many ways an indentured servant, who has been railroaded into helping con, trap, capture, or kill very bad terrorists, drug dealers, international weapons dealers, and the like.  His life is a series of dangerous assignments that help keep the world safe.  As he is incredibly good at what he does, he has somehow managed to survive situations that few (maybe no) others could.  Shaw's girlfriend, Anna, is a genius mind, working in a political think-tank, who somewhat inadvertently involves herself within Creel's sinister plot.  Katie James, a journalist with a complex past of her own crosses paths with first Shaw and then an unexpected chance at a story that could rejuvenate her career.

In other ways, this book surprised me.  Shaw is deeply in love with Anna and gets engaged.  He wants to retire, but that may not be allowed.  After the engagement, Anna and her parents learn much more about his secret life.  Can their relationship survive?  I didn't expect this type of emotional depth.

This setup leads to a very interesting and page-turning storyline evoking a wide range of emotions.  Many of the plot twists were predictable, but some were truly surprising.  The characters were complex and interesting.  The bad guys weren't pure evil and the good guys weren't unblemished.  I found it a captivating and truly enjoyable story.  As I probably enjoy the thriller and murder mystery genres most, I may be somewhat biased, but I would recommend this novel.

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