Metro’s , underground tube and train networks are an excellent way of servicing vast cities, such as New York, London ,Paris and Moscow . To the uninitiated they can be complicated and confusing. Even myself, whilst quite used to the London tube, has to stop every now and then, disrupting the torrent of bodies flowing through this vast underground network, to get my bearings. Then on other occasions, I’ll mutter under my breathe at disorientated tourists as they do likewise. This brings me on to this month’s second book, End Game by David Baldacci, published by MacMillan www.macmillan.com in October 2017.
What’s confusing about this book is that the blurb on the book and the cover images on the front bear no resemblance to the story inside. Ok, for one chapter they do, the first one. After that it’s a totally different story.
According to the blurb on the back, Will Robie an assassin for US Government has 24 hours to save London from a threat by terrorists to attack the underground, with the United States their next target. While the front cover image shows male and female silhouettes walking along a London underground platform.
What actually happens, is that Robie kills all the terrorists single-handedly in a house in central London and saves the lives of 17 million Londoners all within the first fifteen pages!!! For the other three hundred and ninety one, he and his fellow agent Jessica Reel (who never goes near London), mooch about the wilds of Colorado looking for their boss “BlueMan”, who has gone missing while on vacation in his home town. Managing to cross swords with a Neo-Nazi group and in Robie’s case get romantically involved with the local sheriff in the process, all while trying to sort out their own complicated romantic history.
This isn’t the first David Baldacci novel I’ve read, the other was Split Second from his King and Maxwell series. Again like this book it was pacey and full of action but at least the blurb on the back and the front cover had some connection with the whole story inside.
The story in the remaining three hundred plus pages of End Game is interesting if not slightly weakened by the constant distraction of the front cover, which keeps making the reader wonder where the connection to the threat to London and the sixteen terrorists Robie had dispatched in the first part of the book, is going to emerge. It doesn’t, it’s as if Baldacci had an idea for a book, but realised it was just a short story and decided to weld another half decent story onto the end of it. If that’s the case, his editor should be demoted to editing road signs or billboards.
American Author Baldacci (www.davidbaldacci.com) has written nearly forty books which have sold more 130 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 45 languages. A good few have been adapted for film and television. He started writing from a young age, when his mother gave him a lined copy book to keep him quiet. His first book, “Absolute Power,” was published in 1996. He lives in Virginia, where he and his wife also run their Wish You Well Foundation,a non-profit organization, which supports literacy efforts across the country.
While researching this review, I saw on David’s website that the American version of the book has a different cover, which is common. At least it shows a male and female silhouette running through a Coloarado-esque landscape. With so many dedicated fans, I don’t see why David or the editors and marketing teams at Macmillan deemed it ok to take the UK / Irish readers for fools. So, if you are looking for a half decent read, which can be slightly distracting if you are reading a non-American copy, then go and get a copy. Otherwise, any of Baldacci’s other books are a better bet.