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End Game: David Baldacci (Will Robie series, 5)

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The story takes place in rural Colorado, and the cast of characters includes skinheads, Branch Davidian types and other folks of a "sovereign nation" mind bent. This is what a popcorn action thriller novel should be like but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It will work as a standalone, but you’ll miss out on a lot of the early character development, and that will take a lot out of the story.

I have often wondered if he intends to create some series that meshes some of his most beloved characters together, though I am sure trying to juggle that many plots could prove too much of a pain. I don't know, maybe my cheesy radar is sensitive right now, but some parts of the story felt kind of hokey. Baldacci tackles other social issues with the same sort of shallowness, but perhaps I'm asking to much from the genre. Even as a longtime Baldacci fan and as an initial fan of this particular series, I can’t find anything good to say about End Game. They retrace him to his hometown where they discover he grew up before leaving for an Ivy League school and bigger and better things.This story allows Baldacci time for the growing relationship between Robie and Reel, a clever, different, well paced, action packed thriller. Together, they are informed that their handler, Roger ‘Blueman’ Walton, has gone missing during his annual vacation to Colorado.

Robie and Reel soon discover that there is another group who find themselves hiding out in Eastern Colorado, armed with their millions of dollars and secretive condominiums in former military outposts, awaiting the End of Days. Reel is still a slow to emerge character for me, whose past is a jumble and present seems quite focused on the mission. When Reel and Robie arrive, they find a town with a stagnant economy, an understaffed police force, and camps recruiting people with dangerous ideologies. It's hard to believe that the same person who brilliantly wrote The Innocent actually wrote End Game.While Baldacci often bases his novels on contemporary political problems around the world, how he tackles this subject matter is quite disturbing. If you’ve been reading the Will Robie series, I’d definitely recommend reading End Game and seeing it through. She has a weak side, but does not reveal it easily, though when she does, it almost seems a let-down.

As some of the characters are supposed to make an appearance in his other series on Amos Decker ( Memory Man), I wanted to wrap this one up and not run the risk of missing anything. So there’s that contradiction, which is enjoyable (I mean, cheesy dialog has its moments) but not the norm for these characters.While a thriller book, the book does explore the kind of hopeless psychological pain that defines our societies and how our fear of these pains control our actions. A well-crafted tale that brings together mystery, suspense, and the results of social, political, and systemic issues. Will even mentions (early on) the reason he’s such a deadly weapon is that he’s not afraid of death.

As Will and Jessica work the clues, suspects and background information is revealed piece by piece, and the two argue and bicker over Jessica being distant from Will without explanation. At the time I appreciated the deviation because I was worried having not read previous books in the series may have been a disadvantage. Formulaic, but lacking adequate character development, especially disappointing with an earlier likable character Will Robie.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. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with 150 million copies sold worldwide. When this outing begins, Will and Jessica are back in the service of their country when their boss, the Blue Man, goes missing while on vacation in a rural area of Colorado.

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