The Collectors by David Baldacci

September 17, 2013

the collectors baldacci Plot summary (from the publisher): Oliver Stone and his Camel Club are in a race to stop a man who is determined to auction off America to the highest bidder: Roger Seagraves is selling America to her enemies, one devastating secret at a time. On a local level, Annabelle Conroy, the most gifted con artist of her generation, is becoming a bit of a Robin Hood as she plots a monumental scam against one of the most ruthless businessmen on earth. As the killings on both fronts mount, the Camel Club fights the most deadly foes they’ve ever faced.

Warning: Spoilers below!

Liked:

  • Annabelle was mostly a good character, and I thought she was a nice addition to the Camel Club. I was wondering how Baldacci would align the two story angles (the con job and the LOC murder), and liked Annabelle as the link.
  • The casino scam was actually far more interesting to me than the espionage/treason storyline, so I enjoyed the beginning of the novel, which set up the Jerry Bagger long con, more than the middle and end, which focused on the Library of Congress stuff.
  • The way the secrets were passed–via highlighted letters (that were only visible with special glasses) inside rare books in the LOC–was kind of clever. I certainly never suspected that was going on, nor was I even close to pegging the two old folks as active participants in the scheme.
  • I liked the relationship that developed between Annabelle and Oliver Stone. He seems to be the father figure her real dad never was. I know Annabelle sticks with the gang for one more novel at least, and I really hope she turns up again after that.
  • I’m glad Tony got beaten to within an inch of his life by Bagger’s men. He was such a cocky little shit and he screwed up so many times that he deserved everything he got–and more.

Disliked:

  • The one thing I hated about Annabelle was that Baldacci made her so drop-dead gorgeous that men couldn’t think straight around her. First there was Tony in her crew, then Jerry Bagger, and finally every member of the Camel Club (except Oliver). I just simply could not believe that Jerry Bagger, this 66-year-old casino owner, who could presumably order up a female flavor of the day as easily as he could order dinner, would go gaga over Annabelle to the point of putting $40 million on the line in the belief that it would somehow help her career. Nor could I believe that Annabelle’s “brilliant” con hinged ENTIRELY on whether or not she could get Jerry to fall for her like that. Oh, COME ON!!!! That was complete and utter bullshit right there.
  • There’s no way that Leo, an experienced con with a long history with Annabelle, would ever reveal her personal info like that to the new kids on the crew. NO WAY–especially after he realized what a clown Tony was anyway.
  • The LOC mole perpetrated his double life by wearing a disguise and changing his voice a bit? Oh, okay (lol).
  • I don’t like that this book is actually a two-parter. The casino storyline doesn’t get wrapped up here; readers have to go on to the next book to find out what happens between Jerry and Annabelle.

Rating:

The only reason I bothered with another Camel Club installment is that my library had it available and I didn’t have much time to browse around for something else. I thought this one was okay, but not great. There were numerous flaws with the plotting and pacing, and too many of the story beats featured characters doing something totally stupid. I’ll read the next Camel Club book just to see Annabelle’s con all the way through, but that one will have to be awesome for me to go onto the fourth in the series. Meanwhile, I give this one 3 stars out of 5.

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