Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Deliver Us from Evil

Deliver Us from Evil by David Baldacci

Evan Waller is a monster.

He has built a fortune from his willingness to buy and sell anything . . . and anyone. In search of new opportunities, Waller has just begun a new business venture: one that could lead to millions of deaths all over the globe. On his trail is Shaw, the mysterious operative from The Whole Truth, who has tracked Waller to Provence and must prevent him from closing his latest deal. But someone else is pursuing Waller: Reggie Campion, an agent for a secret vigilante group headquartered in a musty old English estate-and she has an agenda of her own.

Hunting the same man and unaware of each other's mission, Shaw and Reggie will be caught in a deadly duel of nerves and wits.

--Deliver Us from Evil
by David Baldacci
Copyright © 2010 by David Baldacci
Published by Grand Central Publishing

My Review
Evan Waller is a man with two lives. In his past, as Fedir Kuchin, he was a war criminal and mass murderer from the Ukraine. He faked his death to avoid prosecution and emerged as Evan Waller, Canadian businessman. He made his millions in human trafficking and now wants to branch out into international terrorism by dealing in nuclear material.

Unaware of his previous identity, Shaw and his boss, Frank, want to take him down because he threatens the balance of power in the world. They figure his upcoming vacation in Provence, France, is the perfect place.

Reggie Campion and her team also think Provence is the perfect place to take down Waller. They, unlike Shaw, are aware of his previous identity. Her organization tracks down war criminals who have escaped persecution and deliver final justice to them. They are aware of his current identity and profession, but they want to take him down for his past deeds.

The nuclear deal is abruptly aborted, so Shaw is called off Waller’s tail. But before he can leave Provence, Reggie’s team takes him hostage. Seems Shaw and Reggie—working under aliases—were getting too close for comfort and Reggie’s boss orders Shaw’s detainment.

Waller/Kuchin manages to escape Reggie’s trap in Provence and now he turns his sights on getting his revenge against the people who would seek to take him down. And he finds a most unlikely route…through Katie James.

Sometimes you want the details, and other times, you don’t, wanting to rely on your own imagination to fill in the blanks. Think of the scene in “Silence of the Lambs” where Clarice Starling is shown a picture of one of Lecter’s victims. We see her reaction to the photo, but we never see the photo. The horror of what she’s seeing is left to our imagination. Baldacci doesn’t leave the horrific actions of Fedir Kuchin/Evan Waller to our imaginations. He tells us, in graphic, gory detail, exactly how evil and sadistic this man is. It’s a testament to a skilled storyteller and yet, I can’t help wondering how good the story might have been if he had left something to our imaginations.

Baldacci created a wonderful heroine in Reggie Campion, and as the story progressed, I couldn’t help wondering when/if Katie James was going to make an appearance beyond more than just a phone call and a quick “hi” at a Paris cafĂ©. She almost could have been edited out of the story entirely, except she’s the route Kuchin/Waller takes to get to Shaw. I liked Katie in The Whole Truth but I have to confess, I like Reggie more. She’s more of a match for Shaw than Katie ever was.

I give this story THREE and a HALF STARS.

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