Title: Divine Justice
Author: David Baldacci
Reader: Ron McLarty
Length: 11 hours
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Bette Midler used to sing “you’ve got to have friends….” And that just about sums up David Baldacci’s fourth installment of the Camel Club series, Divine Justice. Oliver Stone is on the run after the murderous conclusion of Stone Cold. In order to protect the remaining members of the Camel Club he has left everything and everyone behind as he flees Washington DC.
In a Camel Club book, much of the story is about Stone’s, whose real name is John Carr, past. In this story we get much more of what went on before he became a triple six assassin. Stone seems to have the ability to make enemies of people who ultimately reside in very high places. In this case retired General Macklin Hayes, now a shadowy figure in the intelligence community has a grudge to settle.
Hayes is on Stone’s trail and has sent CIA agent Joe Knox to find Stone. Find him, not bring him in because Hayes has other more lethal plans.
So far so good, Baldacci has provided a clean follow-up to Stone Cold, picking up almost immediately after that book ended. I have my concerns about these “serial” books becoming just an extended Bourne type of series, but the characters are entertaining and the action enjoyably easy-to-digest. However as Stone goes off the beaten path to hide from his pursuers, the author goes straight into cliché territory.
Through the type of contrivance that just screams plot manipulation Stone lands in the town of Divine, somewhere in what I believe was western West Virginia. As is the case in these sorts of stories, not all is what it seems in the small town of Divine. Too many people have died in mysterious ways in recent years, and when Stone sees for the first time the maximum security prison called Deadrock looming over the town you know that Stone will see the inside sooner rather than later.
The story has two plots – Stone as the stranger getting involved in the intrigue of Divine, and Knox tracking down Stone. As Knox threatens the remaining members of the Camel Club in order to find Stone, they now join the hunt for their friend to help him, even if he does not want their assistance. I enjoyed that part of the story, how both Knox and the others slowly track down Stone. The story involving Stone in Divine seems all too predictable, down to the widow running the diner, a sheriff that might not be what he seems, and a suicide that probably wasn’t.
There are some nice touches here including a villain whose actions are so horrific you can’t wait until he get’s what is coming to him. I only wished he had gotten it in a way that was bit more satisfying. But in the end you find out most of what you need to know about Stone and his friends come to his rescue in a clever and dramatic way.
This is not a very original work, nor is it very subtle. However it is very entertaining. Baldacci fans and fans of the Camel Club will be happy. Those of you new to this author would be better served to start back at the beginning of the series, The Camel Club, or with Baldacci’s other current best-seller, First Family.
Ron McLarty continues to read this series with total control of the characters getting the rural southern dialect just right and giving each of the characters a distinct personality.
Reivewed on 9/22/09 by Robert W. Karp
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