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159 of 171 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (4.5 Stars) Good vs. Evil Personified, April 20, 2010
This review is from: Deliver Us from Evil (Hardcover)
Review of DELIVER US FROM EVIL - David Baldacci

WARNING - This story contains several extremely detailed scenes of torture and violence. It is not for the squeamish or individuals with a weak stomach or vivid imagination. They are not so frequent that I was unable to finish the book, and they are essential to the story so that it is difficult to skip them and fully comprehend the horror that is the basis of the narrative. However, if I had not been a fan of Baldacci and had not thoroughly enjoyed THE WHOLE TRUTH, the earlier novel in which the mysterious Shaw and his controller Frank were introduced, I might have chosen not to finish the story since I am not a fan of the type of gruesome scenes scattered throughout this book.

The focus of this story is the battle between good and evil. If the prospective reader has not read THE WHOLE TRUTH, I recommend that be read first to get the detailed backstory of Shaw; in addition, one of the key incidents in that book which changed Shaw's life irrevocably is an integral part of this story and thus reading this book would destroy much of the emotional impact of that story if read later. Shaw and Frank develop a plan to capture Evan Waller, a totally immoral Canadian businessman who is both a trafficker in human beings and has a new sideline of selling nuclear material to terrorists. They plan to neutralize his omnipresent bodyguards and kidnap him while he is on a rare holiday in Provence. Meanwhile, a parallel operation is planned by a secret unofficial rogue vigilante group operating out of England who hunt down and execute unapprehended war criminals, and which knows that Waller is actually a deep cover identity for a Ukranian war criminal who faked his own death and disappeared decades ago. This group includes several members with various talents; however, the point person for this op will be Regina "Reggie" Campion, a young woman of steely determination the reason for which is only gradually revealed. Of course, the plans and motives of each operative are unknown to the other. Thus, there are three intertwined stories within the one novel. First, the backstory of Reggie and her team and their attempt to capture and execute Waller in a certain prescribed manner which will make him aware of the reason for his death while maintaining the invisibility of their organization. Second, the parallel efforts of Shaw and his group to capture Waller and achieve their goal of diverting the nuclear material and neutralizing the terrorists' plan. Third, and equally intriguing, the gradual realization on the part of both Shaw and Reggie that the carefully constructed covers of each are just that and that they both have some relationship to Waller's activities and how they attempt to carefully work around each other despite a mutual attraction.

I thought that the storyline was very well constructed, and while there were a few unbelievable coincidences even given the latitude I allow an author, they were minor and did not detract from my enjoyment of the book. Waller was truly evil personified, and his actions throughout were consistent with that portrait. The term sociopath hardly does him justice. The toll that Shaw's career has exacted on his life was notched up even further, Baldacci's implicitly sympathetic portrait of Shaw's plight is a window into the lives of many undercover operatives. The events in Reggie's life are both the definition of "tragedy" and a tribute to the ability of the human spirit to not only survive but also cope. And there is a thought provoking implicit and at some points explicit undercurrent to the story involving the examination of the morality of the tactics employed by such organizations and individuals in the pursuit of such objectives as justice or the elimination of terrorist attacks.

After much debate with myself I decided to rate this book five stars because I enjoyed the story despite the violence and thought that the plot was very clever. The author created enough tension that I was anxious to finish it for several reasons. First, I wanted to discover who lived and died, since the ending of THE WHOLE TRUTH was definitely bittersweet, with not all the `good guys" surviving and even those who did psychologically damaged. I assumed that the bad guy would eventually get his "just desserts", but assumed that not all would end well for Shaw's and Reggie's teams. Second, I was anxious to discover if Katie James reappeared and if so if a relationship developed between she and Shaw in light of the introduction of Reggie Campion. Third, I was interested in whether Baldacci could create and sustain the supposed tension implicit in the incomplete knowledge of both Shaw and Reggie regarding the motives and plans of the other team, while the reader was omniscient in that regard although not with regard to author's handling of the eventual outcome of the story. My satisfaction with regard to all three points is the reason for my high rating and why I anxiously await an inevitable sequel, while wondering what direction it will take and who the central characters will be. If you want a well written traditional thriller with action filled suspenseful twists and turns and you don't mind gruesome violence, I recommend reading THE WHOLE TRUTH and then DELIVER US FROM EVIL. But beware - in order to bring the evil Waller to justice, the "good guys" will experience significant physical and psychological collateral damage.

Tucker Andersen 4/20/2010
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Comments


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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 22, 2010 4:46:25 PM PDT
great review, thanks for taking the time to share it..
trc

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2010 5:16:29 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 23, 2010 5:17:11 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2010 5:18:24 AM PDT
Thanks. Always nice to get positive feedback after taking the time to write a review.

Posted on Apr 23, 2010 5:18:56 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2010 1:47:08 PM PDT
An informative, helpful, and wonderful review indeed! Thank you for sharing your views.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2010 5:32:18 AM PDT
Dina Drazin says:
Mr. Anderson: I read a lot. Could you tell me how you get ahold of books to read before they are released. I would like to get them early also. Israel Drazin, iddrazin@comcast.net

Posted on Jun 7, 2010 4:30:20 PM PDT
Petite one says:
Mr. Anderson, a very well written and informative review.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2010 4:30:19 PM PDT
Thanks - I always appreciate feedback from the people who read my reviews. It makes me feel it was the worth the time to write them.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2013 1:15:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2013 1:22:59 PM PST
Tom Goodrick says:
This post reflects my views of the first half of "Deliver Us From Evil." I read the first book "The Whole Truth". My age is catching up with me and making it difficult to track through such a complex book as theses two. I stopped at 56% of the second book (Deliver) while they were driving in the desert. I have been disappointed many times by Baldacci's treatment of romance. He seems not to like writing stories with a romantic conclusion so he does it poorly. Why in this book is Katie left hiding out some place for the first 56% of the book?

I am looking for a new author to follow.
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