Having been on a pretty long hiatus from pleasure reading and blog posting due to a pretty strenuous fall semester, it seems appropriate for my first post back to be a slight change of pace from my normal choice of literature. I get a big portion of my taste in books from my dad, especially his love of mystery/thriller novels like those of David Baldacci, Robert B. Parker, Brian Haig, and Dean Koontz. I have worked my way through a good number of Baldacci’s books, and he has consistently been one of my favorite fiction writers (I remember his Last Man Standing as one of the first books my dad and I both read and subsequently discussed – a nice bonding moment). This is his latest publication, released last year.
David Baldacci’s Deliver Us From Evil is a fiction thriller, as most of Baldacci’s books promise to be. It tells the story of two separate organizations which are both in the business of ridding the world of the worst kinds of people – human trafficking businessmen, those that commit genocide, and general liabilities to world peace and democracy. Both of these organizations do so under the table, with implied consent from governmental forces (if there is any consent at all). The story intensifies as the two organizations go after the same target, Evan Waller. Waller is a known leader of a ring of human trafficking for the purpose of sale into sex slavery. He also happens to be an ex-KGB officer with the blood of hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens on his hands. As the plot unfolds, Waller’s true evil becomes increasingly clearer, and conflict arises as the two detainment operations start to step on each other’s toes.
I really enjoy Baldacci’s writing style. He employs an omniscient narrative, similar to that of Dan Brown, where each short chapter signifies a change in setting and character focus. For a chapter, he will narrate the story of Waller and his evil-doing, and then immediately after, follow up with a chapter detailing the efforts of each operation to catch him. It is a pretty captivating style, as one can see the point of view of each character set independently, and separate tracks of the plot unfold independently. My favorite part about it is that at a certain point, you are able to realize where and in what fashion the parallel plots overlap, kind of like filling in the gaps for yourself before they actually happen. Not only does this allow for a more proactive reading experience (you find yourself anticipating the next move), but it also give the writer a great deal of control over how to exploit that notion of prediction – when and where to allow the reader to be right, and more importantly, when to break the rules and catch the reader by surprise.
Overall, I think this book is a good representation of what to expect from Baldacci. It is not as fulfilling as some of his are towards the end, mainly due to the simplicity with which the story wraps up, but you definitely don’t leave feeling disappointed. Perhaps the main indicator that this is a good read is that I bought it on a 10 hour plane commute and read pretty much the whole time – 400 pages later, I wasn’t ready to put it down.