It sounds like a movie pitch: "The story is like Tom Clancy crossed with John Grisham set in the Washington D.C. political world." But David Baldacci's Saving Faith
successfully fuses elements from both of these chart-busters in this political thriller spiced with techno-wizardry.
The villain is a classic spy caricature: cold-war CIA super-patriot Robert Thornhill wants to reclaim the glory days of the Central Intelligence Agency--when money flowed like the Mississippi during a flood, and the FBI watched helplessly from the sidelines. Working from his secret underground bunker, he blackmails Danny Buchanan, one of the great Washington lobbyists, to front an enormous bribery scheme that will force Congress to bend to the CIA's whims. But Thornhill's plan springs a leak: Buchanan's assistant Faith Lockhart discovers her boss's dirty dealings, and she intends to expose the whole mess to Thornhill's nemesis, the FBI. Thornhill's associates attempt to assassinate Faith, but their bullet kills her FBI escort instead. Faith finds herself on the run with Lee Adams, a fit-and-trim PI who had been shadowing her at the behest of Buchanan.
If all this sounds a bit confusing, it is at times. Baldacci works hard to keep the tension steadily rising, but it is sometimes difficult to remember why Faith and Lee can't just stop running and go for help. Nevertheless, they are very likable heroes, and Baldacci's depiction of the world of lobbyists and the internecine warfare of the FBI and CIA (complete with state-of-the-art spy gadgets and transmission-proof chambers) elevates the novel with details that can come only from careful research. --Patrick O'Kelley
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From Publishers Weekly
Baldacci's fifth high-concept premise in as many novels (The Simple Truth; Absolute Power; etc.) propels his hard-working new thriller: a renegade CIA faction attempts to reassert the agency's primacy over the FBI by manipulating members of Congress who fund both outfits. To do so, the CIA conspirators aim to take over a bribery scheme they've discovered. The scam was concocted by legendary lobbyist Danny Buchanan, who has been greasing the palms of lawmakers to gain their support of bills aiding the poor and hungry overseas. The spooks plan to assassinate Buchanan and his prot?g?, the lovely Faith Lockhart, and force the legislators, under threat of exposure, to support the CIA over the FBI. First, however, they'll have to kill the FBI person guarding Faith, for she has confessed everything to the bureau in hopes of working a deal for herself and Buchanan. But the CIA villains haven't reckoned on the resilience of the two lobbyists, nor on the grit of FBI agent Brooke Reynolds, nor on the skill of PI Lee Adams, who gets caught up in the attempted hit on Faith and her guardianA and who then goes on the run with the lobbyist. The novel evolves into a frantic, exciting chase, FBI after CIA after Lee/Faith, with a few nifty twists. Baldacci's characters continue to grow in complexityAthere's an exceptionally fine scene in which Lee, drunk, nearly rapes FaithAbut, alas, so does his plotting. This novel is overdone, with too many heroes and subplots and enough data withheld from readers to generate confusion. Baldacci's prose can still break the jaws of subvocalizers, too. The novel moves fast, though, and its players and suspense are strongAas should be sales. Main selection of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club; simultaneous audiobook.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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