THE COLLECTORS by David Baldacci

11 11 2010

David Baldacci is not really my kind of writer, but Annabelle, the heroine of The Collectors, is absolutely my kind of woman, the kind I identify with. So having read the blurb I bought the book, and having opened the book I couldn’t put it down.

Jerry Bagger is the brutal owner of a casino in Atlantic City who was once the victim of a scam by Paddy Conroy. Jerry’s habitual reaction to any aggravation is KILL (he was in Atlantic City because he had been thrown out of Vegas for littering the place with dead bodies – he, of course, always had an alibi and a team of lawyers) but Paddy had disappeared. So Jerry killed Paddy’s wife. Who was Annabelle’s mother.

Now, years later, the child has grown up and is intent on revenge. She is a better con than her father ever was. He took Jerry for ten thousand dollars. The beautiful Annabelle plans to take him for millions.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Jonathan DeHaven, a division head at the Library of Congress, dies in mysterious circumstances, and the members of Oliver Stone’s Camel Club, a strangely assorted group of men in their fifties (there is an earlier book I have not read, The Camel Club), decide to investigate. One of them is also a librarian and had been DeHaven’s assistant at the Library of Congress.

But they very soon come up against some extremely powerful forces: a US government conspiracy, in fact.

Then the two storylines merge when it transpires that the dead head librarian was Annabelle’s ex-husband.

Unputdownable.

But it stops in the middle! Really! You have to buy the sequel, Stone Cold, to read the rest of the story!

In Stone Cold, a mad Jerry Bagger ($40 million dollars down – and he had fallen for the scam, he had fallen for her!) is hunting Annabelle, and at the same time, but quite unconnected, a certain Harry Finn is hunting – and killing one by one – all those involved in the murder of his father, an top American spy who married a famous Matahari-style Russian spy, Harry’s mother. She is now an old woman and has only only one thing on her mind: revenge. Which is certainly the theme of these two books.

Again the two storylines merge. Again I was up all night reading. (Not that I mind that!) It is not quite as good as The Collectors, but almost, and that is high praise.

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