Friday, July 6, 2012

Scarlett's Review of 'The Innocent', by David Baldacci

A well-written, fast-paced, action-packed, thriller!

Book Description
Publication Date: April 17, 2012

America has enemies--ruthless people that the police, the FBI, even the military can't stop. That's when the U.S. government calls on Will Robie, a stone cold hitman who never questions orders and always nails his target. But Will Robie may have just made the first--and last--mistake of his career.

It begins with a hit gone wrong. Robie is dispatched to eliminate a target unusually close to home in Washington, D.C. But something about this mission doesn't seem right to Robie, and he does the unthinkable. He refuses to kill. Now, Robie becomes a target himself and must escape from his own people.

Fleeing the scene, Robie crosses paths with a wayward teenage girl, a fourteen-year-old runaway from a foster home. But she isn't an ordinary runaway-her parents were murdered, and her own life is in danger. Against all of his professional habits, Robie rescues her and finds he can't walk away. He needs to help her.

Even worse, the more Robie learns about the girl, the more he's convinced she is at the center of a vast cover-up, one that may explain her parents' deaths and stretch to unimaginable levels of power. Now, Robie may have to step out of the shadows in order to save this girl's life . . . and perhaps his own.

Product Details (per Amazon) 

·        File Size: 678 KB
·        Print Length: 433 pages
·        Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0446572993
·        Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 
·        Sold by: Hachette Book Group
·        Language: English
·        ASIN: B006VFLIYK

My Review

David Baldacci puts the reader through a fast-paced obstacle course in The Innocent, never allowing time to decompress as the story unfolds in terse chapters, averaging about 3 pages in length.  This rapid-fire delivery gives the reader a feel for Will Robie’s complicated life.  We begin to feel conflicted about Will.  He’s a “stone cold killer” and all, but, geeze, the guy’s life stinks! …and, all for the good of the country?

Hints of chinks in Will’s armor become evident as he deviates from his usual MO of kill-or-be-killed and becomes the protector of a young girl.  His humanity creeps further out from hiding when he admits his attraction to two, very different, women.  As he lets down his guard and interacts with them, his social skills are laughable.  His idea of seductive repartee is just shy of a grunt…yet, we understand.  The poor guy’s charisma has taken a beating: his charm blunted by years of trying to avoid bullets and bombs. Who has time for such nicety's? If Will reaches the ripe old age of 45, it will be a miracle …and most likely from the vantage point of a coffin.

The part of The Innocent that stretched reality too much for me was the concept that this “stone cold killer” has latent altruistic tendencies that would make Gandhi humble.  I mean, really, I’ve reared 4 teenagers and the only thing that kept me from killing them was a fear that my gene pool would die out!  So, how can I believe a killer would put up with Julie: a cheeky 14 yr-old, wise-cracking, smart-a##, girl who thinks she knows everything?  Come on, wouldn’t he just shoot her with his trusty Glock and be done with her?  I’m tempted, and I don’t have his creds. (BTW, I’m kidding about my children, of course.  I would never harm them. They are my last line of defense against Nursing Home admission.)

On the subject of ‘shooting’, there is one part of the book that, I must say, I found troubling and extremely offensive. Early in the story, Baldacci included the gruesome murder of an infant.  I almost stopped reading the book at that point. This inclusion contributed nothing to the story line and certainly distanced me from the book, and author. Aside from that disturbing fact, the book is well written and engaging.  Over-all, The Innocent earned 3 of 5 hearts from this reviewer.

Disclaimer:  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  My review reflects my honest opinion of the work.

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