True Blue by David Baldacci

June 9, 2010

Plot summary (with spoilers): Mace Perry, a former cop, has just been released from prison after serving two years for a crime she insists she wasn’t responsible for. According to Mace, she was kidnapped, drugged, and forced to participate in armed robberies until she was caught. Apparently, her standing as a police officer — and the younger sister of Washington, D.C. police chief Beth Perry — carried no weight with the jury, who convicted her of being an accessory. Now that she’s out, all Mace can do is think about ways of getting her job back. It’ll take solving a major case (and a whole lot of luck and politicking) to make that happen.

Fortunately, the case happens to fall in Mace’s lap when the body of Diane Tolliver, a high-profile D.C. attorney, is found stuffed into her firm’s refrigerator. Beth inexplicably lets Mace tag along on the initial crime scene walk-through, where Mace meets Roy Kingman, another lawyer at the firm and the man who found the body. After establishing that Roy didn’t kill Diane, the two start investigating the case together despite Beth’s objections.

The rest of the book then goes through the usual police procedural motions. Roy and Mace track down clues, interview people, try to piece things together, and are cornered in dangerous situations several times. Nevertheless, they manage to escape every time and beat the “real” cops at cracking the case — which turned out to be some convoluted scheme of piggybacking dirty money on top of legitimate business deals in order to pay for foreign and domestic intelligence operations involving tracking down terrorists. Diane happened to come across the information and the intelligence agencies involved simply couldn’t risk her going public with the proof.

Liked:

  • Well, there wasn’t all that much to like about this one, but I do have to say that the plot moved along rather quickly. This was kind of a long book, but I was able to breeze through it because there weren’t too many slow spots. To be sure, there were a lot of subplots that could have been edited out, but I was surprised at how fast I was able to get through this.
  • I liked Mace and Roy, for the most part. Mace was a bit too perfect to be believable, what with her nearly super-human strength built up from endless hours spent on prison pull up bars and free weights, but I thought she and Roy made a decent crime-solving team. Even though I didn’t particularly enjoy this title, I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to reading another book featuring these two characters.

Disliked:

  • Wow, where to start? Well, first of all, there were just too many unbelievable situations in the book. Like a big-time drug dealer named Psycho would wager Roy and Mace’s freedom on a one-on-one game of basketball with some guy he was 2 seconds away from killing? Uh huh. And later, Psycho would again delay killing Mace just because she asked him if she could get a punch in (at which point she tasered him). OMG, yeah right. Then, to top it all off, Mace was able to pull the SAME stunt on the trained assassin by asking for a knife fight? WTF kind of killers are these supposed to be? What a crock!
  • Where can I get a six-figure position as a research assistant? That was another eye-roll plot point that didn’t even need to be there. Would it have killed Baldacci to make Mace a waitress or something the least bit believable? It’s not like the job ended up having anything to do with the main story — except for allowing Razor to miraculously appear on the spot to rescue Mace from Psycho. But that same ending could have been accomplished in a number of other ways besides a ludicrously cushy job.
  • The main case was dull and boring. Why couldn’t Mace and Roy have been working to find the people who framed her? That would have made a lot more sense — and would have allowed readers to become much more invested — than this totally random piggybacking scheme.
  • The whole scene where Mace was locked in the refrigerator. Man, in a book filled with stupid scenes, that had to be one of the worst. It didn’t help that Baldacci drew the thing out so long. I knew she would escape, so I just skimmed to the end of that ridiculous part.

Rating:

True Blue by David Baldacci is certainly not one of the author’s best efforts. It is a mostly by-the-numbers procedural with too many unbelievable events to make the story the least bit enjoyable. I give this book 2 stars out of 5.

One Response to “True Blue by David Baldacci”

  1. Nothing in this book is as ridiculous as the DA, Mona Danforth’s (non)quest to get Mace re-incarcerated. Mace and Roy during the course of the book blatantly broke so many laws that a first day law student would’ve been able to secure a conviction against Mace without any trouble. I agree that the book would’ve been at least 150 pages shorter if all of the pointless subplots were edited out of the book.

    The only good books that Baldacci wrote are the books in the Camel Club series.

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