Author: David Baldacci
Narrator: Ron McClartey
Format: 12 discs (hrs) - equivalent 372 pgs
Characters: Mase Perry, Beth Perry, Roy Kingman
Subject: murder, national security,
Setting: Washington DC
Genre: Thriller, suspense
Source: Hachette Audio contest prize
This is a scary book. The plot is scary, the characters scare the living blankety blank out of me, and the premise is nightmarish because it is so real.
It has a well developed, tightly written plot with many twists, surprises, and heart-stopping developments. Within the first 5 minutes of this audio, we have a US attorney murdered and his body stuffed in a dumpster by ??? --- are they good guys or bad guys??? This question will drop to the bottom of the dumpster with the body and only reappear much later in the book. In the meantime we have a female prisoner being molested by a guard and threatened by other inmates while she's trying to hold on for 3 more days until her release. And we have a high powered, big money corporate attorney discovering the body of a colleague in his office refrigerator when he goes for cream for his morning coffee. So much for trying to come in early to get work done!
It has characters whose actions sometimes require us to suspend belief, (what would you do if you were facing a gang of hoodlums with automatic weapons??---I won't spoil it, but I'm not sure my choice would have been the one written). Our heroine is constatly ignoring common sense, speeding off on her Dukati, and getting into all kinds of trouble, but like WonderWoman, she manages to extricate herself---all without a gun, and often without the help of her sister the Police Chief or her buddy the lawyer !!
The good guys are almost stereotypical--the blond female Washington DC police chief Beth Perry; her sister Mason (Mase)--a cop wrongly accused of dealing drugs who has recently been released from prison and is trying to clear her name and get her badge and gun back; Ron Kingman, a college basketball star turned corporate attorney who befriends a homeless Vietnam vet by giving him shoes, twinkies, and keeping tabs to be sure he's ok. Cap'n (the homeless vet) is one of the most fun characters in the book. He provides a few sad but comic moments in a very intense book.
The bad guys are numerous and often masquerade as good guys. The good guys aren't above a little law breaking if it serves their purpose. In fact, one of the scariest aspects of this book is that it's hard to tell who's who----good guy? bad guy?
The story is almost a political commentary on the state of US national security today and the scariest premise of all is that this kind of activity is going on in the name of national security, and none of us will ever know, or could do a thing about it if we did know.
As an audio, it is well served by Ron McClartey's crime reporter voice. I just wish that Hachette would not have included all the sound effects that seem to be de rigeur in today's MTV world. I listen to audio books because I find it difficult due to physical limitations to hold books for long periods of time, and my eyes are getting 'old' and tired. So I want to listen to the book. I don't want a stage production. My mind still works and I want to be able to IMAGINE the bullets zinging, the motorcycles zooming, the cars crashing. And Please............the "dum dah, dum dah, dum dah" music used to fade into and out of scenes reminds me of JAWS. I almost expected a shark to pop up. It will be bad enough when they make this a movie (and you know they will!) and we have to see all this. Until then, I'd rather paint my own mental pictures thank you.
Challenge: Books Won, AudioBooks, Thrillers and Suspense
Many thanks to Hachette for making these available for blog contests.