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Avg. Rating: 2.92
Although it started slowly, and never developed quite the sinester twist I was expecting, Baldacci's Saving Faith is a well done, fast read story of the evils of politics in today's government. Focusing this time on lobbyists, Baldacci tells the story of bad lobbyists turned good and CIA leaders turned evil. With a background love story between the two main protagonists and just enough surprises as to who the "hidden" bad guys are, Baldacci draws the reader in to the ugly machinations that are today's government. The CIA is the real villian here. Lacking an external enemy, the CIA instead focuses on its internal enemies - including the FBI - in an attempt to reassert it's power base in the country again. Killing FBI agents as well as innocent bystanders is justified by the ends the organization is striving to achieve - a powerful CIA organization which by definition must mean a powerful America. Faith Lockhart is the assistant to the bad lobbyist turned humanitarian; Lee Adams, a private investigator, is an innocent bystander who is drawn into Faith's melodrama because he is hired by Faith's boss to follow her. When Lee is caught in the crossfire, he "saves" Faith and the story begins.
Wasn't this originally called The Pelican Brief?
Baldacci has fallen into the same trap that John Grisham did. After writing several engaging stories, he's now churning out books that do a decent job of entertaining but break little new ground. In fact, Saving Faith has so much in common with Pelican Brief that it's scary:
- smart, attractive female lead from hard-knocks upbrining who's making it on her own
- older father figure who acts as mentor
- cardboard cut-out bad guys from the federal government, complete with extraordinary powers
- elite international assassin who screws up his hit on our lovable female lead
The list goes on. Don't get me wrong - this isn't an entirely unlikeable story - it's just that it doesn't break any new ground. The characters are straight out of central casting - the strong but lonely PI, the about-to-be-divorced loner FBI agent who's fighting the system for what's right, etc.
The story moves along at a good clip, and the last 1/3 of the book is quite entertaining. There are a few twists that you may not see coming - and I won't reveal them here - but nothing earth-shattering.
Baldacci's at his best when describing the political system (he once practiced law in DC and knows quite a bit about the Hill). It's when he writes in intricate detail about a certain type of custom-made bullet imported from Europe for the assassin, or when he goes on and on about what type of gun someone is using, that he strays off-target. This isn't his area of expertise - it's as if it comes from someone else verbatim. He may have done his homework, but does it really serve the story?
Overall, this is a decent beach book. Not nearly as good as some of Baldacci's better books, but still a good read.
Not bad but far from great.
After titles like "Absolute Power", I really expected more from David Baldacci. While this isn't a bad book, and actually did keep my interest, it wasn't the dynamic page-turner that I was hoping for.
Like others have said, the opening stages are a little rough. The plot is intriguing but as the book wears on, it becomes predictable. You know what is going to happen, just not HOW it is going to happen. There was a nice twist at the end, but not enough of one to get the book up to 4 stars.
It's a good read overall but not a top priority book. If you have a choice, go for a David Morrell, Tom Clancy, Gayle Lynds, or someone in that class.
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