Bullseye: An Original Will Robie / Camel Club Short Story (Kindle Single)
I have only vague recollections of the members of the Camel Club and their exploits, since I read those books years and years ago. I may have even missed one or more of the later books. I will have to go back and refresh my memory. Nevertheless, my lack of knowledge did not hinder my enjoyment of the novella. I suppose if one had no knowledge of who and what the Camel Club are that the novella might have been somewhat confusing especially since the story featured Oliver Stone rather Will Robie, which was actually somewhat disappointing. Robie did little of the mystery solving or arranging the resolution, although his shooting skills were certainly put into play. He was present almost solely in his role as assassin and demonstrated only a little independent involvement in the whole hostage situation at the bank, despite being a hostage and having keen observation and problem solving skills, as we know from the books featuring him. Other than being a shooter, he imostly serves as a foil to Stone's character. All that being said, the book was still an enjoyable excursion with some of Baldacci's more unforgettable characters. (Too bad John Puller did not participate in the story.) The plot was not terribly complex or even elegant and the usual description of places and secondary characters was missing, which made the story less nuanced than Baldacci's longer novels, but the story moved along at quite a clip and kept my interest throughout. It was fun to see Stone and Robie interact. My one true criticism is regarding the discussion in the book of the construction of the bank's physical space. At first, the woman explaining the reason for the irregular shape of the bank said that she learned about it after asking people in the banks once she noticed it. She is asked if one feature reached the top of the building. She thinks about and then surmises that it must. However, in the very next paragraph, she then states that she is sure that it does, because her husband, who is in the construction business, had plans of the building and she saw that it did. This was not a correction of her previous statement on her part, but instead was a completely different version of her thoughts. She goes on to say that she learned everything about the space from the plans and her husband before she worked at the bank, contradicting her prior statement that she learned about the space due to her asking colleagues when she became curious about the space. Obviously, she would not have been curious if she knew about the space before she even worked there. How and why she learned about the space is not remotely important to the plot, but the discrepancy was annoying and disappointing. I expect better of Baldacci. It is a relatively minor peeve that is only made large due to the brevity of the story and the fact that the discontinuity occurred in adjoining paragraphs. Why didn't Baldacci or his editors, proofreaders, or friends and family catch this before publication? Maybe I am missing some subtle point given that I did not follow the construction discussion regarding pop-outs, dead space, and so on very well. Still, I really recommend this novella highly to fans of Baldacci and the Camel Club and Will Robie. I have the new Will Robie book, "The Guilty," and I am looking forward to getting sucked back into Robie's world.