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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Book Review: The Camel Club by David Baldacci

Finished August 24, 2014

Synopsis at Good Reads

Existing at the fringes of Washington D.C., the Club consists of four eccentric members. Led by a mysterious man know as "Oliver Stone," they study conspiracy theories, current events, and the machinations of government to discover the "truth" behind the country's actions. Their efforts bear little fruit --- until the group witnesses a shocking murder ... and become embroiled in an astounding, far reaching conspiracy. Now the Club must join forces with a Secret Service agent to confront one of the most chilling spectacles ever to take place on American soil --- an event that may trigger the ultimate war between two different worlds. And all that stands in the way of this apocalypse is five unexpected heroes.

My review at Good Reads

3.5 of 5 stars

Don’t think that only three and a half stars when I’ve given most of the Baldacci I’ve read five means I was displeased or disappointed with this book. I enjoyed the read but I wrestle with the believability a little. I like fiction that I think about after I finish reading and wonder what would it be like, how would I react if it happened to or around me because it’s entirely possible something similar could happen. I really dislike fiction that has gaping holes in the believability or mentions supporting “facts” that just aren’t possible. The Camel Club is neither of those. It was a gripping and exciting read but it left me unsure of how I felt about it after I was done.

The characters were well-developed and the action scenes were great. Maybe it’s just that there were a lot of characters that didn’t have huge roles, but this is the first of a series and maybe other characters will play a bigger role in subsequent books in the series. The plot was intense but I’m just not sure how believable all of the instances in the series of events are. There were too many super heroes/super villains and while they weren’t the stars of the book, for me they did introduce a difficulty to accept them or how anyone could defeat them.

In reading some other reader comments I was a little disappointed that so many interpreted that explanations of Islam in the minds of terrorists in the book were Baldacci’s support of either the religion or the terrorists. My interpretation of those instances in the book was to understand how followers of Islam can be made to believe that terrorist actions are justified. I don’t think there would be enough of any group that harmed others if the members of that group couldn’t justify it with their own beliefs. That’s true for any group and any set of beliefs not just Islam and not just extremists. That being said the understanding of the mental justifications and mental baggage of all the characters is why, in spite of some beyond believable events, the book made sense.

I will read he next book in this series.

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