From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Baldacci's sequel to The Whole Truth
(2008) lacks the creative plotting and masterful handling of suspense that marked his earlier thrillers. Evan Waller, outwardly a respectable Canadian businessman but secretly a human trafficker who sells children into prostitution, has expanded into arranging nuclear weapons deals with Islamic fundamentalists. Shaw, the lead of The Whole Truth
, sets out to stop Evan, as does Regina Reggie Campion, a British femme fatale, who works for a clandestine group that tracks down and executes war criminals. Reggie and Shaw, both of whom intend to make their move while Evan is on vacation in Provence, cross paths while maintaining their cover stories. Shaw becomes attracted to Reggie, even as he fears that Evan, who's in fact a sadistic Ukrainian who served the Soviets, will abduct her. Crucial developments come across as contrived rather than clever. The ultimate resolution will surprise few. (Apr.)
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Ostensibly, Baldacci’s latest is another novel (after The Whole Truth, 2008) about Shaw, the enigmatic agent working for an enigmatic organization. But it feels a lot more like the launch of a brand-new series, as though Baldacci is using a familiar character, Shaw, to segue to a new series lead: Regina “Reggie” Campion, a beautiful and deadly woman who works for an even-more-enigmatic group dedicated to ridding the world of evil. Both Shaw and Reggie are after the same man, Evan Waller, although each of them is unaware of it. To Shaw, Waller is a dealer in black-market nuclear materials; to Reggie, he’s the former Fedir Kuchin, a Ukrainian mass murderer. Reggie and Shaw both arrive in Provence, where Waller/Kuchin is vacationing. This is a very clever novel, and full marks go to Baldacci for pulling off an especially difficult type of story—one in which neither of the central characters knows entirely what’s going on, while the reader is omniscient. It’s a lot of fun watching the two scope each other out, trying to determine whether the other is a threat (even as their mutual attraction grows). We become intensely involved in the story, wishing we could step inside the book and clue its two protagonists into what’s going on. The only problem—for fans of Shaw, anyway—is that, in Reggie, Baldacci has created such an interesting and engaging character that he might have made Shaw redundant. --David Pitt