Having taken a pass on Baldacci's departure from the action/thriller (Wish You Well), I welcomed a return to previous form with Last Man Standing. I believe the latest effort was worth the wait. Like his previous works such as Total Control and Absolute Power, Baldacci grabs you at the beginning of Last Man Standing and doesn't let go. The work is another page turner, packed with action, suspense, plot twists and surprises. In the story, the central character, Web London, is a member of FBI HRT (Hostage Rescue Team). Previously decorated for heroism on many occasions, London finds himself inexplicably frozen during a rescue assault that wipes out the entire HRT assault team and leaves him as the last man standing. As the story unfolds, London is left to deal with the aftermath of the situation and attempt to find an explanation. Baldacci effectively utilizes shifts between the present and the past, and provides a broad character set to complement London's character. All-in-all, Last Man Standing is a great read that marks a return to the genre in which Baldacci made his mark originally. Hopefully, he will continue.
on November 11, 2001
Web London heads up the FBI's super-elite Hostage Rescue Team, he is a master at what he does, but on their latest assignment he is not able to predict, or save them from the bloodshed that is about to erupt. Having his men assemble in an alley, Web feels confident that they will bring down the drug dealer they have set out to destroy, but within seconds they are ambushed...everyone killed, leaving Web the LAST MAN STANDING.
Trying to cope with the blame that has been placed on him by grieving widows, Web must try to put the pieces of that fateful night together. What went wrong? How were they ambushed? And who was the young boy Web saved in that alley, and why was he there?
As these questions plague Web he seeks the help of psychiatrist Claire Daniels, and with her help he will be able to confront his own tainted past, as well as answer the question WHY WAS HE CHOSEN TO BE THE ONLY SURVIVOR?
As Web's search begins the young boy disappears, and anyone connected to that fateful night will be violently silenced, but Web is confident he knows where the killer will strike next, only this time he may not survive the attack.
`Last Man Standing' marks the return to thriller writing for David Baldacci, unfortunately the novel is peopled with too many characters, and the plot is far more complicated than it should be. Characters come dropping in every chapter, and the in depth descriptions of weapons, and technical FBI jargon become a distraction rather than an important part to the plot.
As with all Baldacci novels his writing is clean, crisp and easy to read, and he CAN spin a good tale, only this time he has too much going on. As the old saying goes "LESS IS MORE".
on November 6, 2001
David Baldacci has done it again, crafting yet another fast-paced, action-packed page-turner. The hero of his newest thriller is tough-but-loveable Web London, a member of the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team. When a drug raid turns into a brutal and deadly ambush, Web must try to unravel the mystery of why he is the only member of his close-knit team to survive. The search takes him into the darkest corners of his past, to the mean streets of Washington, D.C., and out to seemingly bucolic Virginia hunt country, where Web meets a variety of unforgettable characters from all walks of life, each of whom sheds a bit of light on the mystery he must solve.
Baldacci's seventh novel - like his others - is one you won't be able to put down. Baldacci packs the book with a brilliant plot and more than a few surprises that will knock your socks off, and includes a wealth of detail that highlights his meticulous research skills. I can only hope that we'll see Web and company again in a future Baldacci thriller.
on November 28, 2001
My 80+ year old aunt introduced me to David Baldacci by recommending "The Simple Truth" a couple of years ago. I have since read all of his books and they've cost me a lot of sleep. The main review provided enough details of the plot, so I'll just add a different perspective here. Yes, there are a lot of characters and plot twists. That just means you don't want to put the book down because it's easy to forget names, but I was so drawn in that I didn't want to put it down. There's also a fair amount of detail about HRT training, which I thought was interesting even though I have never thought about owning a gun.
Like many of Baldacci's other books, you don't know who to trust and often guess wrong. While the hero is male, some supporting characters are female and they are strong. That's important to me as a female reader--I HATE simpy and stupid women. Baldacci writes scenes that are easy to envision and characters that seem real. That sets him apart from many in this genre. I loved this book and hope for a sequel to keep Web London and some of the other characters alive.
Over the past few months, I've been trying like the dickens to broaden my reading horizons just a bit. My latest foray into the world of fiction was "Last Man Standing," the latest novel by David Baldacci. This is one of those books that I should have loved... but didn't . It falls into the genre of murder mystery/"techno"-thriller... much like Tom Clancy's books minus all of Clancy's geopolitical machinations and neo-conservative posturing. It's an interesting story told by an author with writing skills that can best be described as "nothing special."
"Last Man Standing" is the story of name of Web London, a thirteen-year veteran of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team, who sees all six of his teammates shot to pieces during an assault on a drug trafficking ring. Web is the only man to escape death. For some reason, when the signal to move forward is given, he finds that he cannot walk, run, or even stand up. It's almost like he's paralyzed. He desperately wants to join in the fight, but he's physically in no condition to do so. He lies on the pavement, fully conscious of the slaughter going on around him, and unable to help in any way.
What follows is Web's attempts to find out why he was left the "last man standing." He's considered by many to be at best a coward and at worst a traitor. He's left feeling guilty and despondent. He decides to seek psychiatric help. The story takes readers on a journey from FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, through some of the seamiest parts of the nation's capital, and to the gorgeous horse farming country of northern Virginia. Readers are introduced to a plethora of characters, all part of a sinister plot against the FBI and Web London in particular. Read the book to find out what happens to our hero!
There are about as many good things to say as bad about "Last Man Standing" On the plus side, the story is well conceived, the premise believable, and the plot nicely developed. Baldacci does a very good job keeping his focus throughout the book's 548 pages. The story never wanders very far from where the author intends it to go. Even those seemingly small sub-plots (and there are a lot of them) tie in nicely at the end of the novel. The book is easy to read and understand.
So much for the "plus" side. "Last Man Standing" is plagued with some significant flaws. First and foremost, I found the characters - all of them - flat and uninspired. None of them engendered in me any passion one way or the other. I tend to like books where I, the reader, can like or dislike characters with a passion. How else would it be possible for me to root for the "good guys" or heap scorn upon the "bad guys?" Without strong feelings for the book's characters, what incentive is there to read on?
Another problem: while the central story line of "Last Man Standing" is well focused, it tends to be very predictable. So predictable, in fact, that I found myself correctly guessing the final outcome of the book by the time I'd reached page 250; I also was able to predict what type of situation would occur a few pages down the road. Baldacci certainly didn't make "Last Man Standing" a particularly suspenseful novel, that's for sure!
My final gripe concerning "Last Man Standing" is Baldacci's writing style. His prose is crisp, clear, and unambiguous, but also too simplistic for my tastes. I like literary prose best when it's edged with a bit sarcasm, humor, pessimism, or a myriad of other stylistic tinges that the most successful authors use. I think fictional prose should challenge the readers' intellect just a bit. Yet, Baldacci's writing is almost completely devoid of these characteristics. It's bland, almost like salt-free popcorn or chips. It provides no challenge to the intellect, no room to stop and think about characters or situations and draw conclusions, no challenging vocabulary or sentence structure to "tickle" the intellect, much as Caleb Carr did so successfully in his novel "The Alienist..."
MY VERDICT: With sincere apologies beforehand if I sound sexist here, but "Last Man Standing" is a "guy" book all the way. Every testosterone-tinged page of this novel is replete with big guns, muscle cars, and guys doing either impossibly heroic deeds or unspeakably villainous ones. In many ways it's a well written book, but it falls far short of being the kind of "rock `em, sock `em, seat-of-the-pants" thriller that I like best. In short, it's a nice, entertaining few days' read, but nothing that says "Read me! Read me NOW!!!"
on January 28, 2006
I gave this book a read since I thought the premise was intersting and was a fan of "Absolute Power." Since I've read almost all the Michael Connelly novels, this one came up as "if you liked xxx, try "Last Man Standing" in a search engine.
WHAT A WASTE OF TIME! It took me about 8 days at the gym to finish it, and I only kept going because I was hoping it would get better. I thought there would be some insight into the FBI's operations and such, instead the author spends 50 pages describing a thoroughbred horse farm!
The main character, Web London, it a clown. When the final twist was revealed about his youth, I wished he went down in the courtyard with the rest of his team.
The psychatrist, Claire, is a character who provides nothing to the plot other than the inevitable "damsel in distress" for our hero (or anti-hero?) to "save."
The other team members of the HRT unit are like those guys you see in action movies that get killed or add nothing to the plot. Everyone of them is a cliche, especially, the one Web "partners" with to observe the Canfields on the horse farm. Even to the point where they run their muscle cars up and down the highways at 140 mph. By the way, how do they afford corvettes and Mustang Mach-1s when the authorclaims they make less than a "Supermarket checkout clerk?"
The drug dealers are just a "red herring" of the plot. What a waste, I thought it was going to be interesting.
Randal Cove, under cover FBI agent (and former Oklahoma running back and NFL prospect!) does nothing for the final plot other than provide the point of view to reveal the true villian.
The true villians seem too stupid to hatch up the plans the author describes.
The Canfields, there isn't really any comment to make about them than other if you've seen any movie or tv show in the last 50 years, they are just like any other rich older husband, lucious young wife with the usual stereotypes.
THIS BOOK WAS JUST A LONG WASTE OF TIME. LUCKILY I CHECKED IT OUT FROM THE LIBRARY!
on November 13, 2001
Web London leads his elite FBI Hostage Rescue Team on the raid of the drug operation, but the enemy is waiting fully armed with remote electronic modern weaponry. Web's team is wiped out with he the lone survivor. Washington DC Field Office Chief Buck Winters, a key contributor to the Waco fiasco, blames Web for causing a media nightmare. Web's peers and the family members of the dead want answers on why Web lived.
Web knows he is the fall guy for this fiasco, but is determined not to just prove his innocence, but learn how his team was set up because this was a high tech precision operation that required a FBI leak to succeed. Web knows that one other witness besides the remote ambushers survived the assault. A ten-year-old boy named Kevin happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He also needs to determine why the other side left him as the LAST MAN STANDING. This trail will lead to some personal revelations that will shake Web to the core of his being.
LAST MAN STANDING is an exciting psychological police thriller that contains two interrelated story lines in which separately either one is very powerful, but collectively one takes away from the other. Readers will empathize with Web who in seconds horrifically observed his team eradicated and feel for family survivors. David Baldacci furbishes an exciting thriller that never slows down even as the tale meanders between the twin plots. Still, readers will enjoy this fast-paced different type of psychological police procedural.
on April 23, 2002
FBI Agent Web London was a member of the FBI�s Hostage Rescue Team Charlie. He is feeling survivor�s guilt after his team was decimated in an ambush leaving him the sole survivor. Web is not sure why he survived or why he froze before the ambush took place. In order to be able to make sense of it all he hires psychiatrist Claire Daniels to help him understand what happened. They uncover a conspiracy involving many players as well as a personal vendetta by one of them.
I read and enjoyed most of David Baldacci�s novels except this one. The story dragged on for too long and I felt things could have resolved in fewer pages. There is too long a gap between characters and there were several setups in the novel which were a little too convenient. The book in itself has no ending. There is a conversation between Web and his psychiatrist in which he feels that he was betrayed. So he storms out. Will there be a sequel? Probably. Hopefully Baldacci�s next work will be better and stronger. For anyone who has not read this author before I strongly recommend THE WINNER and THE SIMPLE TRUTH.
on July 29, 2007
I received this book as a birthday present many months ago, and the gift brought a grateful smile to my face since I have enjoyed many of David Baldacci's novels, i.e., Absolute Power, A Simple Truth and others and within a few days I was reading Last Man Standing. Overall, I thought the Web London character was boring and shallow. As an FBI hostage team assaulter he seemed more like a loose cannon rather than a team player which I suspect is the SOP for the FBI. The story is plastered with police that have nothing to fill their time with except to shoot bazookas like guns and love every minute of their destruction. Sometimes I had to laugh because some of the author's scenarios were so bizarre and far-fetched. I won't go into the constant splattering of foul, almost detestable language, which I didn't feel added much to the plot. There were few surprises and I felt I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen next.
Anyway, in my opinion Last Man Standing doesn't seem to fit Mr. Baldacci's style of a thrilling mystery novel that is at least realistic to a degree and his intensive research into the subject matter that he noted for. One last thought I think the book could have been shorten by at least 50 or 60 pages. It's not a terrible novel, it's a good read and I wouldn't recommend purchasing a hardcover, but pick up a paperback.
For you Mystery fans I encourage you to take a look at the gripping novel The Monopoly Factor by Robert L. Saunders. I finished reading it a week ago and the incredible effort in which the author used in his style of storytelling bring this thrilling mystery to the forefront of an excellent page turning read. You won't be disappointed. It's absolutely a top-notch novel. Have a good day.
on February 12, 2002
David Baldacci's Last Man Standing, is in short, a "thriller among thrillers."
This is the first Baldacci work I have read. I loved seeing Absolute Power in which Clint Eastwood starred & I had heard about The Simple Truth, but Last Man Standing is the first Baldacci I have got my hands on, & now I regret not having read the author's previous works.
Last Man Standing features FBI Agent, Web London, a hardened veteran & the point-man of a hostage rescue team, with zero failures to his name. When one routine operation (if one can call any operation routine)goes amok, killing all his friends, his team - leaving London the sole survivor, he has a hard time coping with the distress of the widows of his friends, & his tarnished reputation.
At first it seems to be a miraculous escape, but soon events turn in such a way that anyone & everyone connected with Web is being killed & he finds himself the center of suspicion.
With the help of psychiatrist Dr. Claire Daniels, London tries to rebuild his life & find the real killer. What follows is a game of matching wits, with the killer always just one step ahead, culminating in not just a thrilling finish but also a chilling finish.
Last Man Standing, is a techno-thriller minus the jargon; it is an adventure, a fantastic psychological thriller, & Baldacci has convincingly combined the elements of all these sub-genres in an action-packed book.
Though not fast paced, the action is thick & furious. London is a real fallible hero, similar to the protagonists in many of Frederick Forsyth novels, which makes the character & the story totally believable.
Web London has many features of a series character, & I wouldn't be surprised to catch him in any future Baldacci novels. The book also has all the elements of a blockbuster movie, & personally, I would love seeing Bruce Willis in the role of Web London.
I enjoyed this punching chiller-thriller.