David Baldacci

Hell’s Corner

"The plot has more contortions and twists than a carnival freak show convention..."


Oliver Stone, who was once the country's most skilled assassin, stands before the White House for what may be the last time. The president personally re-enlists Stone for a high risk undercover mission. After having tried for 30 years to leave his past behind him Stone is left with no alternative but to answer his country's call.

Then Stone's mission alters drastically before he has even got started. A bomb goes off in the vicinity of the British prime minister as he leaves a presidential dinner. Stone is immediately re-assigned to investigate the terrorist attack along with MI6 agent Mary Chapman. Their quarry are elusive, deadly and very well informed - which keeps them one step ahead of Stone and Chapman. As things develop Stone turns to the Camel Club for help investigating what he believes is the opening salvo of a series of attacks aimed at the President. In the murk of politics and international espionage, nobody can be trusted and nothing is as it first appears.

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The return of Oliver Stone to the US government can only ever achieve action, intrigue, death and discoveries. His uncompromising attitude and manner mean he gets results first and deals with sensibilities second. Yet, he is not gung-ho or out to buck the system; far from it. He just sets out to do a job and does it with the minimum of interference from those around him. The plot has more contortions and twists than a carnival freak show convention, yet it is so well laid out, that never do you lose track of who is who and which side they are on in any particular chapter. The whole intricacy of the novel is very akin to the work of Jeffrey Deaver. Stone is a marvellous character whose wings have been allowed to spread and every outing with him is a great adventure. His deep sense of self criticism and the guilt he subsequently carries around with him are the softening touches to a fine man who is a hard as nails. Advancing years do not hold him back and it is wonderful to see his mental capacity being fully displayed as well as his physical attributes. Chapman, her boss Sir James, Agent Ashburn, Agent Gross and the Camel Club all play their part - but really they are just there to facilitate Stone. The prose is as tight as one would expect from an author of such note and it panders to both the pace and the plot as required. Hell's Corner may not be as fast with the action as previous Camel Club outings but it will not leave you lacking, as the plot reveals more than compensate the reader for any dearth they may experience. The final denouement on murder mountain is a spectacular action sequence which will satisfy even the most bloodthirsty reader.

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