For anyone who has read Camel Club books, this is a must read. It's short and fairly light, but it's wonderful to have the Camel Club working together again. The Oliver Stone books are the best that Baldacci's ever done. It's got wonderful camaraderie and great characters. Will Robie is also good as a strong, intense man of mystery. Together they are great. If you like King and Maxwell, the Camel Club or Robie books are far better.
Oliver Stone is the best character Baldacci's ever created. He's an aging, enormously talented U.S. Government assassin who became a basket case when his wife was murdered by the U.S. Government and his daughter taken from him. He hates violence and is a very nice guy, but he eventually broke down and killed the baddies. In Bullseye, this is all untold backstory, but it's his brains and his closeness to his friends that save the day. He is shown to be much smarter than Robie.
Baldacci is better than any of his competitors. McLarty is one of the best, but not the very best. But he's very good, adding to the characterizations, making everyone believable. Men sound like men; women sound like women.
Yes, and I did.
The teaser for the upcoming Robie and Reel book sounded wonderful. Can't wait for it to come out.
What Cameron does with characterization is stunning. Three of his major characters are tremendously flawed: an insane killer, an unemployed kleptomaniac sponging off his sister, and a looney young woman who killed her father when she was a child. You hate them at the beginning of the novel.
The book begins with a murder told from the point of view of the insane killer. I did not care for the scene, but it kept me reading. Then Peter, the kleptomaniac and the book's main character, is introduced. I disliked him and was tempted to give up on the book. I am glad I did not. He finds himself involved with the murders and you see who he truly is. You see him fall in love. You see him react to and care for the looney girl. You see him become friends with a crusty old cop. You come to understand him, respect him, and you see him grow as a person. Finally, you feel his empathy for the girl and the killer, and because you have seen their lives, you share that empathy with him.
To build such characters and manipulate the feelings of readers so well is phenomenal. Cameron does a great job.
The crusty old cop, police detective Skin Kadash. He's really a minor character, even though the book is called "A Skin Kadash Mystery." However, he's the only really normal person. even though he has interesting character traits.
Berman is exceptional. Each character has a unique voice. Men sound like men. Women sound like women.
Without him, I wonder if the reader would empathize with the insane murderer and looney girl as much.
In the climactic chapter, Peter (the kleptomaniac) makes a decision that says a lot. I don't want to say more, as it would spoil the ending.
The book is not perfect. The beginning could have been done better. The woman that Peter falls in love with is too perfect and her character is not fully developed. I suspect that Cameron slighted her to keep the novel from getting too large, and that was a mistake.
But these problems are minor. The book was a joy to listen to. What Cameron does with his major characters is incredibly impressive and a pleasure to read. Overall it was a great book.
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