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43 of 43 found the following review helpful:
A literal cliff hanger! Mar 08, 2008
By Paul Weiss
"Stone Cold" brings back The Camel Club in a third successful outing with two story lines loosely crossing each other's paths!
In the Camel Club's previous novel, "The Collectors", Annabelle Conroy, the beautiful and resourceful con artist extraordinaire, relieved Jerry Bagger, her mother's murderer and filthy rich casino owner and crime boss, of $40 milliion dollars. Bagger will stop at nothing to exact his revenge and kill Annabelle ... slowly, luxuriously and very, very painfully!
Meanwhile (one might say, back at the ranch!), someone is assassinating past members of Oliver Stone's elite 666 squad, a CIA assassination team. Three down and two to go. John Carr, "officially" dead, killed and buried many years earlier, lives disguised and in deep cover as lowly Oliver Stone. The only remaining "live" members of the team are Senator Roger Simpson, a front-running candidate for the big seat in the Oval Office in the White House, and Carter Gray, director of the CIA. They're so worried that Gray reaches the decision to exhume John Carr's coffin thereby revealing the fact that John Carr is still alive and well. Oliver Stone is being held out as bait for the assassin.
"Stone Cold" is jam-packed with fast paced Hollywood style action and dialogue to be sure but it's completely successful and enjoyable nonetheless! A great reprise of some international cold war style spy vs spy intrigue together with a story revolving around a sleazy, despicable crime boss and his quest to exact revenge on the babe he might have loved but who stole his respect and honour instead.
Friendship, loyalty, love, honour and duty are themes that ripple through both interwoven stories and the ending, in particular, while shocking (in great thriller style) is warm and pleasing. It's certain to bring a lump to the throats of many readers.
That said, some readers will be disturbed by the extent to which a few threads at the end of the story are left untied. But, for me, that just spells sequel and I'll spend the next few months waiting with bated breath.
Highly recommended for lovers of suspense thrillers and fans of David Baldacci and his wonderful creation, The Camel Club.
304 of 340 found the following review helpful:
Fast-paced. Great story. Oct 26, 2007
By Monty Rainey
Even though I do a lot of reading, fiction isn't really my thing. In fact, I usually only read a few works of fiction each year. So, when my daughter brought home an advance reading copy of STONE COLD by David Baldacci from the bookstore where she works, I didn't get too excited about it. She told me she had read one of his books before and thought it would be something I might like. The book sat idle on the desk in my library for a couple of weeks. Then one morning, before going to the office, I had a few extra minutes and decided to take a look at it.
If I lacked excitement about the book before, that lack of excitement was multiplied after reading the excruciating first sentence. It was a painful fifty-two words long and contained six commas. I looked at my watch then glanced again at the cover. "Okay Mr. Baldacci, you've got exactly twelve minutes to grab my attention."
Well, guess what. Mr. Baldacci did indeed grab my attention. The first sentence turned out a poor example of Baldacci's writing style. Over the next day and half, every spare minute was spent flipping the pages of this book. Even though this is apparently the third or forth book in a series, the character development was spectacular. The story is non-stop and will have you dying to know what happens next.
I hate it when reviewers give away too much storyline, so I'll limit what I tell you about the plot. Most books of this nature, I find, too much of a stretch to be believable. I only found minor instances of that here. Here's an example; as I said, Baldacci brilliantly constructs his characters. Here we have a ruthless casino owner, feared by all, known to be a dangerous man you never want to cross. Yet he employs a barmaid at the casino who is quite loose-lipped about her employer's dealings. Not likely. The reader is also asked to buy into assassinations of high ranking cold-war officials. But don't let these little trivialities stop you from enjoying a book that is non-stop action. These mistakes are few and far between and are easily overlooked. This is a book you will not want to put down.
Baldacci is a champion at creating the scene on that big screen TV in your mind. In fact, this book has all the makings of a blockbuster movie. You'll see what I mean as the story unfolds. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, some pedantic, self-absorbed producer will get their hands on it and ruin a perfectly good story.
I'm still not a big fiction reader. I just don't have time. But as someone who reads only a handful of fiction books each year, I'm glad this book was one of them.
42 of 44 found the following review helpful:
Stone Cold - Great Book! Apr 06, 2008
Third installment for the Camel Club... I bought this book when it first came out, but did not get to read it until this weekend. Boy, am I glad that I waited until I had the time to enjoy it. The writing was great, the story line was taut and the action flowed from beginning to end. The characters stayed true to their nature, a few of them have grown from first book to now, and... well, I don't want to give any of the story away!!
There are a few intricate parts here that make the whole story more enjoyable, so I would read this when you have the time to actually do so. Skipping over paragraphs could really zap some of the meat out of this story.
I highly recommend - books with heroes like these and such complex villains are hard to come by.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!
All the best,
21 of 24 found the following review helpful:
Who is Harry Finn? Feb 12, 2008
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith
"Expect the Unexpected"
This is the third of David Baldacci's books to feature the Camel Club. The books are best read in order because each book builds on earlier events and further develops characters already introduced.
This time around, the Camel Club (Oliver Stone, Milton Farb, Reuben Rhodes and Caleb Shaw) are fighting on two fronts. Casino king Jerry Bagger is hunting Annabelle Conroy, an honorary member of the Club, who conned him out of millions. At the same time, Stone himself is under direct threat. Ghosts from Stone's mysterious past seem to be surfacing, and some significant people are being murdered. We know early on who is doing the murdering, but understanding why (and who will be next) adds a whole dimension to the story.
There's plenty of action in this novel with some interesting twists and turns. I think this is the best of Mr Baldacci's novels I have read so far, and I'll certainly be looking forward to the next.
7 of 7 found the following review helpful:
Hits the ground running and never lets up Feb 21, 2008
By J. Norburn
Stone Cold is the third installment in the Camel Club series and is easily the best. The first novel in the series (The Camel Club) was a bloated, convoluted mess. The second (The Collectors) was a considerable improvement but still a far cry from `must read fiction'. With Stone Cold, Baldacci finally delivers the knock out punch.
Baldacci hits the ground running in Stone Cold, carrying on where The Collectors left off. Stone Cold is lean for a Baldacci novel, maintaining a relentless pace from start to finish. The novel incorporates two story lines: one involving a casino boss determined to track down the woman who scammed him out of millions, and one involving the son of a former CIA agent falsely accused of treason, who is methodically murdering the men responsible for his father's death.
My only complaint (actually, more of an observation than a complaint) is related to the big showdown in the closing chapters of the novel. There is a point (I don't want to reveal too much) where Stone is on the verge of escape after a daring rescue, when something happens to make him very angry. He turns back and, almost single-handedly, annihilates a highly trained, heavily armed team of men.
My issue with this scene is three-fold. First, it's just too `Rambo-like' to be plausible. (Stone is described as killing with such efficiency, it is as if he can direct the path of his bullets through sheer force of will). My second gripe is the fact that Baldacci writes this scene `after-the-fact' in summary. There is a missed opportunity for the reader to experience the action `as it happens'. The third issue I have with this scene is the misplaced morality of it. The men that Stone retaliates against are only foot soldiers following orders, armed with inaccurate information (much as Stone was, as a member of an elite assignation squad during the Cold War). Stone's fury is misdirected in this case at men who are just doing their job and think that they are protecting the interests of their country. (Rest assured, Stone will settle all old scores before the final page is turned)
My complaint (ok - my `petty whining') about this scene is half-hearted. There isn't much to complain about. The genre doesn't get much better and let's face it; `Rambo-like' behavior is a requirement in this type of novel and, quite frankly, if a few faceless, nameless soldiers have to die so we can fully appreciate Stone's fury - so be it.
The bottom line: If The Camel Club left a bad taste in your mouth and you're reluctant to read another bad Baldacci novel, put your fears aside. Stone Cold is a good one. In fact, it's very good.
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