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Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci

Pub Date: | Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

Hell’s Corner
David Baldacci

Grand Central Publishing
11-20-10
Hardcover/448 pages
ISBN: 0-446195529
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". . . a good story that seemed to have no resolution . . ."

American espionage that is a bit long in the tooth.

Oliver Stone, who began life as John Carr, a legendary assassin, walked Lafayette Park one night and everything changed.

A woman sits on a bench napping and then chatting on her cell phone. An older man in a suit stoops to read the inscription on a statue. An overweight man in jogging clothes, but too fat to jog, wanders into the park. Oliver Stone watches it all until bullets rake the park after the older man and the woman leave and the overweight jogger jumps into a hole and explodes.

Across the street from the White House, what could it be but a message to the President of the United States that he is not as safe as he thinks? Or could it be something else?

With nineteen thrillers under his belt, David Baldacci sets his latest thriller in America with an unusual cast of characters. The stakes are high and the clock is ticking . . . and ticking . . . and ticking. That is the main problem with Hell’s Corner, the clock keeps ticking and never seemingly runs out. Hell’s Corner is full of red herrings—they pop up in every other chapter—and the twists and turns become more convoluted than a Gordian knot. I wondered when Baldacci would get out the sword and just cut to the heart of the matter.

Despite an intriguing story, a fast-paced plot and fascinating characters, Hell’s Corner was a bit tedious after the first few red herrings, especially for me since I figured out the culprit in the first few chapters. I was, however, surprised by the penultimate ending, which seemed a bit gratuitous.

Full of surprises (a few too many of them) and a good story that seemed to have no resolution and no end, I began to wonder if Oliver Stone was really that good or too long in the tooth for a quick kill. Hell’s Corner is one heck of a ride that goes on a bit too long by a master storyteller.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell