- Review: David Baldacci's Divine Justice
Review: David Baldacci's Divine Justice
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Author: David Baldacci
ISBN: 10:0-446-19550-2: 13:978-0-446-19550-8
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
One of the nice things about reviewing another David Baldacci thriller is that you know in advance you will be enjoying another roller coaster of a ride that we come to expect from this best-selling author. One that is never dull or formulaic.
Divine Justice draws the reader into the capers of John Carr also known as Oliver Stone. Oliver is quite an interesting chap who was a caretaker at a cemetery, a White House protestor, and who helps break up spy rings. But then again, Oliver is really John Carr, a very distinguished soldier who fought bravely in Viet Nam who died and apparently had been buried thirty years ago. The CIA even enlisted him for its very secretive Triple Six Division.
However, when they dig up Carr’s grave at Arlington Cemetery, they find that the remains of the body have disappeared!
As our story unfolds, Stone is on the run as he just killed on the same day two of the most prominent men in the USA using a rifle that he tossed into the ocean before taking a dive off some cliffs. The two were Carter Gray, Chief of Intelligence and a senator from Alabama, Roger Simpson.
Apparently, Stone was a former colleague of the two men when they worked together at the CIA, and he held some kind of a grudge against them.
He was determined that Gray and Simpson known about it as he left the grave marker and flag of Gray and a photo of a woman taped to a newspaper for Simpson.
After carrying out these assassinations, Stone hops a train and heads for New Orleans hoping to find a construction job. During the course of the train ride, Stone comes to the aid of a young passenger, Danny Riker who had been attacked by a couple of goons. The two eventually become friends and Riker invites Stone to return with him to his hometown of Divine, Virginia. Little did Stone realize that over the next several weeks this decision would lead to some very ominous consequences that had very little to do with the crimes he had committed.
From outside appearances, Divine seemed to be a sleepy mining town in the middle of nowhere. For most outsiders, it would be inconceivable that the townsfolk would live in such a sinister town that has witnessed murders, an accidental hunting death, an apparent suicide, narcotic smuggling, and people getting blown up. The town also housed a super maximum prison that was home to hardened criminals and some very vicious guards including a merciless warden. The prison was given the name Dead Rock because several coal miners were trapped and died in a cave-in. They were sealed up and the prison was built on top of these poor souls.
Assigned to track down Stone, who was considered the most wanted man in the USA, is Joe Knox, a subordinate to master spy Macklin Hayes. As we discover, Hayes is not exactly a nice fellow for he was involved in some very appalling shenanigans that Stone was well aware of and would embarrass the U.S. government, or at the very least the CIA. Moreover, Stone also had a few scores to settle with Hayes from his days as a Vietnam hero.
Although Stone may have quite a few enemies on his tail, he is not without loyal friends who dangerously involve themselves in trying to make sure that he keeps out of harm’s way, particularly from the arms of Knox and Hayes. All are members of the Camel Club who put their own lives in danger in order to save their unofficial leader.
You have to admit that there is always something fascinating when we have a great plot with outstanding characters mixed in with CIA wrongdoings, ingenious drug smuggling, corrupt government officials, murder, and unexplained deaths. And from start to finish Divine Justice hums briskly along with quite a fluid, twisting and absorbing thriller that rushes to a surprising but fitting end. Baldacci also effectively sets a tone consistent with Stone’s attitude, without being clichéd, boring, or contrived solely for shock value.
In addition, he manages to slip in some interesting questions pertaining to loyalty, honesty, and even a little philosophizing wherein readers can identify with Stone’s feelings as he asks himself if revenge is always wrong and was righting an injustice outside the law never condonable?