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Divine Justice is narrated by the actor and author Ron McLarty. McLarty has narrated other of David Baldacci's novels including Simple Genius. The narration of Divine Justice is intelligent and well paced with just enough characterization to differentiate the characters. Being able to identify characters quickly and correctly is particularly important during the action scenes where several characters are involved at the same time. McLarty is able to do so admirably and believably. He reads the book with passion which is apparent in the quality of the narration. The unabridged audiobook is just under twelve hours long, but the quality of the writing and narration hold the listener's attention throughout. McLarty is great.
The work belongs in the library of those who revel in the suspense, thriller, and spy genre. This is the fourth in the series to employ the "Camel Club" members as a group of citizens with varying skills who are, from time to time, pushed into situations that call on their collective talents to deal with serious problems of mystery and intrigue and to "seek the truth". Divine Justice is the fourth in the tetralogy of books which include The Camel Club (2005), The Collectors (2006) and Stone Cold (2007).
There are essentially two protagonists in Divine Justice: Oliver Stone and Joe Knox. Stone is really John Carr (as well as Ben) and uses aliases as often as required to effect his escape as "the most wanted man in America". Knox is a CIA Agent tasked with capturing Stone. A large portion of the action bounces back and forth between the two – the hunted and the hunter. On the way we learn more about each man as we hunt for clues to the plot intricacies. Just when the listener begins to think that the plot is predictable he or she is surprised by a new twist or a new puzzle, or, by the spare but effective sound effects! (Beware of a sudden surprise on Disk 6.)
The action takes us from a cemetery near Washington, DC to the depths of a coal mine in Divine, Virginia. Stone is a hero of a certain type: a killer with a conscience; the traditional American hero, a bad guy with a heart of gold. On the way there is an arrogant spy boss, a lovely widow, a gang of prison guards, a small town sheriff, some young people in trouble with the law, murder, intrigue, drugs, violence of various sorts, and one well depicted love scene.
As with all "detective" stories the pleasure for the reader/listener comes from the discovery of patterns in the work which yield the eureka experience as you suddenly see how bits and pieces cohere. For example, as Stone is hiding out in Divine he hooks up with a widow and her son who reside at a lovely rural property known as Midsummer Farm. Later, when a character is trying to provide one of the Camel Club with a necessary clue to help find the missing Stone (without breaking a confidence) she states that the answer to the question "When is a bottom changed into an ass?" will provide the necessary clue. Bottom. Ass. You do not need to be a Shakespeare expert to get it!
This best selling work provides hours of pleasure. You know the cliché "Couldn’t put it down"? Well, once started this work will be hard to turn off.
Divine Justice remains on the New York Times Best Sellers list of Hardcover Fiction for the ninth week. You can review the full list at www.nytimes.com. The lists cover sales for the week ending January 3. Divine Justice also remains in the top 10 on the Washington Post Bestsellers List of Hardcover Fiction for the eighth week. View the full list at www.washingtonpost.com.
© 2009 Bob Lane
Bob Lane is an Honorary Research Associate in Philosophy and Literature at Vancouver Island University in British Columbia.