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     David Baldacci’s HELL’S CORNER (Paperback by Vision, Audio by Hachette) was first released on Nov 9, 2010 in hardcover. I purchased the audio version from Audible a few of months ago, and finally got a chance to listen (I first had to finish two other  books, one of them another entertaining Baldacci tale, SPLIT SECOND).

     As with all of Baldacci’s novels, it was a great read. HELL’S CORNER is the fifth book in the Camel Club series. I hadn’t considered doing a review until I decided to buy a used copy to have in my library, and in the process read some reviews at the book seller’s site.

     Before giving my review of the book, I want to give my review of reviews. To everyone who gave the book one star – I give ALL OF YOU one star. The book was very, very good, and I’m amazed you couldn’t see that. I almost said great, but there were a couple of things that didn’t work for me.

     Now, to Mr. Baldacci’s book. Oliver Stone – formerly a Triple Six, an elite CIA assassin known as John Carr – is asked to return to duty and stop the Russian mafia from taking over the Latin American drug trade. Before he can begin his mission, however, he is almost killed in an explosion at Hell’s Corner (Lafayette Park) across the street from the White House and the Prime Minister of Great Britain’s motorcade.

     Because of he was an eyewitness to the attack, plus his amazing skills of observation and analysis, he is asked to stay and assist in the investigation. Mary Chapman, the Bond – Jane Bond of MI6, becomes his new partner. Together they track down false leads, repeated attacks by the good guys and the bad guys, and unravel a wonderfully complicated trail back to . . . sorry, you have to read the book.

     Yes, there may be a different feel and pace to HELL’S CORNER than what we read in THE CAMEL CLUB. But that’s not a problem, it’s good writing. After the years and “miles” Oliver Stone has traveled from his first introduction as a character, I expect him to change. I want the hours I’ve spent reading and listening to his adventures to have an effect on him, it did on me. For me, HELL’S CORNER is revealed in a way that fits perfectly with a weary warrior who’s wondering how much more he has to give – or will be asked to give.

     It’s what I want, it’s what I expect. John Corey, created by Nelson DeMille, experiences the same growth and transformation. The impetuous, hotheaded John Corey from PLUM ISLAND got older, and married, and has grown into a more mature but still indomitable force in THE LION, where he finally brings down one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists.

     There were some little things that bugged me, and I though that the original mission against the Russian Mob, that brought him back into government service, was unnecessary. I partially understand why the author wanted the Russians in our minds, but I think it could have been done more efficiently. There are other little things, but they would be spoilers so I’m going to let them pass.

     The story was great, the ending was very good with some wonderful twists. I recommend it.

 

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