Book review: End Game by David Baldacci

Friday, November 17, 2017 Permalink

I mentioned in my review of David Baldacci’s previous Will Robie book, The Guilty (published in 2015), that it wasn’t a series I knew well. In fact, I was a latecomer to the series but that book took Will (and his erstwhile partner Jessica Reel) out of his usual spy / assassin / government agent role and had a more personal twist.

At the time I appreciated the deviation because I was worried having not read previous books in the series may have been a disadvantage. It wasn’t. Similarly, it doesn’t matter if you’re meeting these characters for the first time in this latest installment as Baldacci does a great job at introducing them to us via James Bond-esque style opening sequences.

Book review: End Game by David BaldacciEnd Game
by David Baldacci
Series: Will Robie #5
Published by Macmillan
on October 31st 2017
Source: PanMacmillan
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 1447277406, 9781447277408
Pages: 368

Will Robie and Jessica Reel are two of the most lethal people alive. They're the ones the government calls in when the utmost secrecy is required to take out those who plot violence and mass destruction against the United States. And through every mission, one man has always had their backs: their handler, code-named Blue Man.

But now, Blue Man is missing.

Last seen in rural Colorado, Blue Man had taken a rare vacation to go fly fishing in his hometown when he disappeared off the grid. With no communications since, the team can't help but fear the worst.

Sent to investigate, Robie and Reel arrive in the small town of Grand to discover that it has its own share of problems. A stagnant local economy and a woefully understaffed police force have made this small community a magnet for crime, drugs, and a growing number of militant fringe groups.

But lying in wait in Grand is an even more insidious and sweeping threat, one that may shake the very foundations of America. And when Robie and Reel find themselves up against an adversary with superior firepower and a home-court advantage, they'll be lucky if they make it out alive, with or without Blue Man...

Will and Jess had a ‘moment’ at the end of the last book but when this book opens they’ve not seen each other for six months and Will’s at a bit of a loss as to why. Jess is no help to us because – although we’re in both of their heads – Baldacci probably identifies more with Will so it felt like we were keeping his secrets rather than Jess’s.

After the huge opening scenes we settle down a little into an unfolding storyline around Will’s boss, known to them as the Blue Man. (Which is something to do with his revered position in The Agency.)

Will and Jess are forced to work together to work out what’s happened to the man they both admire, though know little about. They retrace him to his hometown where they discover he grew up before leaving for an Ivy League school and bigger and better things.

Now I don’t know about small-town America but I wondered whether rural Australia has similarly sordid (and exciting) underbellies; as Grand in Colorado is resplendent with a religious cult, luxury doomsday preppers, skinheads and Neo Nazis. (And I had always thought the last two were the same thing, so was a bit confused on that front!) The local sheriff and her deputy and even the state troopers tend to take a ‘hands-off’ approach when dealing with the groups, knowing they’re is significantly outnumbered.

Of course Will and Jess are as irreverent and fearless as ever. Will even mentions (early on) the reason he’s such a deadly weapon is that he’s not afraid of death. Interestingly he worries briefly about his lack of humanity – having had a glimpse at the alternative the last time we met him… on a more personal mission.

He had been selected for this line of work with the basic requirements already in place: He had a body, he had a mind, and he feared basically nothing.

Then over the years they had ground into him a whole other being, still possessing the basics plus a spectrum of skills that most people could never imagine, much less achieve.

Some days it was hard for Robie to see where the machine ended and the human began. If the human was still in fact there. p 5

Baldacci knows his stuff or does A LOT of research. His fight scenes and those involving weaponry are very detailed. I tend to skim them looking for bits I understand but I know those who actually know something about that stuff would care passionately that he’s accurate in his descriptions.

It’s Jack Reacher / special ops / navy sealsĀ  on speed in some instances, backed up by a complex plot and likeable (if slightly dysfunctional) characters. If I could have I would have read this in a sitting – but I was rudely interrupted by life. Damn commitments and adulting and the like.

There’s a sense early in the book that this might be the final outing for Will and Jess and I wondered if that was going to be the case, which I guess had me reading while on edge a little more than usual.

End Game by David Baldacci was published in Australia by Pan Macmillan and now available.

I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes.


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