Top critical review
Fast and adventurous, but only that
on October 17, 1998
I will come t disagree with some critics who wrote "Baldacci is the new dominator in the thriller field" (Arizona Republic), "Baldacci does not only surpass his fellow writers, sets them really out of the battlefield" (People magazine). Probably those gentlemen haven't read Robert Ludlum. And yes; Baldacci could be better than Ludlum or equal if only... The book is really not bad. It flows like a creek, the tempo is really uprising up till the ending climax scenes, the narration is setting complete scenes, not the Kellerman immediate type, but complete and speech of Baldacci is neither too intelectusl nor too naeve. Baldacci's words are common and uptodate, simple, but hold exactly what he wants to narrate and exhibit. Nothing more and nothing less. The same happens with dialogues. And this makes the book immediate with its own way. Then the story is nothing complicated, a simple detective adventure, of the non too complex type, including an economic conspiracy adventure inside, a romantic story and men and women with dak past lifes, agents and Phantom like villains. A Ludlum setup that is. the comparison comes clear but not the outcome. There are no great mysteries, the plot comes straightforward, but the twists and some elements of unexpected, make it interesting and increase the readers' intensityand follow up. As said, the tempo is such that grabs you and never leaves you. But. Too much coincidenses to help the heroes resolve situations, too much clear cut justifications that reach the naeve edge, too much "on the verge" happenings and enough last time savings. From a point and on we assume what is going to happen, but the tempo pushes us not to miss any line, word, or scene and "oops" the book is over. And the characters ? Some attention is tried, but yet not the multidimensional one, only a 2D, cause Baldacci does not want to intensify his heroes' minds and psychology and bring in the psychological thriller, like Ludlum in the Bourne trilogy, or like Thomas Harris does with his villains. Finally, the book is a galloping rythm detective adventure and as such is perfect, a top notch book for a blockbuster film (can tell you the cast I made if you want), but not a novel to be curved deep inside a reader.