Hell's Corner (Camel Club Series)
Standing in the midst of Lafayette Park, skilled assassin John Carr, aka Oliver Stone, breathes in the serenity of his surroundings and peruses the magnificent sight of the White House perhaps for the last time. Called from retirement once more by the president to serve his country, Oliver mentally readies himself for yet one more covert mission.
At first glance, a sudden bomb explosion near where he stands in the park appears to target the U.S. president and the British prime minister as they exit a state dinner. The PM’s motorcade hurriedly leaves while Oliver’s mission has suddenly changed: Now he must find the people responsible for this terrorist attack while watching out for his many enemies in his own government with whom he tangled in past missions.
As many friends and foes from the past circle through Oliver’s investigation, he soon realizes that this mission will require more resources than he and his British MI6 partner, Mary Chapman, have between them. Oliver trusts none of them, as one by one they fade away, sometimes permanently. He reluctantly calls in the only people he can trust, people he would trust with his own life, his friends from The Camel Club.
Many false leads and distractions from the main issues convince them that they must first determine who the actual target of the attack is before they can sort out the guilty terrorist group from others claiming responsibility. What happened in the park may not have been the true plan as too many things are not what they seem to be. Russians working through the Mexican drug cartel seem to be likely suspects, while the cartel trying to reinvent itself emerges as less likely to initiate the attack; then what about the Yemen group that actually claims responsibility?
The three women most prominent in the investigation create conflicting levels of trust and at times cause Oliver to realize he hasn’t been really close to anyone for a long time; yet how far can he trust any of them? The conflicting facts and scenarios create a heightened sense of awareness in readers by leading them to a sensible conclusion then just as quickly dispelling it.
Ultimately, the reader is left totally unprepared for the convoluted ending. The author does an excellent job with characterization, offering the reader a sense that they would be recognizable if they were to meet on the street. The intermingling of characters and different scenarios is well mapped out, though a bit difficult to follow at times. Overall, Hell’s Corner is an excellent read—and highly recommended. David Baldacci lives with his family in Virginia. He and his wife have founded the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America.