Last Man Standing
by David Baldacci
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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Web London is a veteran FBI agent and part of the prestigious HRT: Hostage Response Team. His story opens during a mission to bring down a major player in the Washington DC drug game.

Web and other members of the "Charlie" team are prepared to enter a rundown building in a dangerous part of town. Inside, they expect to see computers, bean counters and all the trappings of a major business operation devoted to moving drugs.

As the HRT moves to strike, Web freezes in his tracks. His sudden paralysis is unexplained, but it saves his life. All the other members of the team are killed in a hail of bullets. When the smoke clears it is evident that the FBI has been setup and six agents paid the ultimate price. There is no sign of any drug business office inside the vacant building.

Naturally, there is a public outcry regarding the incident. Everyone wants to know why Web is alive when the rest of his team perished. Nobody wants to know the truth more than Web himself and he's determined to find out who is behind the massacre.

Last Man Standing details the investigation, which stretches from the highest levels of the Bureau to the lowest criminal elements in the country. Web is a complicated man with a troubled past. He enlists the help of psychiatrist Claire Daniels to sort out several issues including his actions during the botched raid.

There are many facets to this story including a major prescription drug ring, a bad-ass dealer named Big F, a supremacist-style militia group, a psychiatrist with access to top-secret information, and a street-wise boy caught in the middle of it all.

After surprising readers with his sensitive side in Wish You Well, David Baldacci is back with a supreme thriller. The best-selling author weaves a detailed yarn that's engaging without being complicated to the point of distraction.

Slow points are kept to a minimum. Any time the pace does cool, it's to set up a key point in the investigation. In return, Baldacci peppers his tale with extensive descriptions and character use of the latest in FBI weaponry. Sources credited on the last page are to be commended for their expertise. The author deserves praise as well for incorporating their knowledge into an exciting FBI tale.

Baldacci does a good job of lining up several possible suspects. The characters themselves are quite fascinating. Only the lady psychiatrist seems unoriginal. She's smart enough to find small clues, yet dim enough to walk into a trap. Been there, read that.

There are a few small convenient incidents toward the end of Last Man Standing, but nothing implausible. I craved a complex thriller and Baldacci delivered. And he did so without a single gratuitous sex scene! Thank you, kind sir. Your loyalty to the investigative plot without having Web drop his drawers is greatly appreciated by at least one devoted reader.

Baldacci is best known for his thrillers. In 2000, he proved his versatile talent with the respectable Wish You Well. After mastering historical fiction, Baldacci effortlessly returns to the fast-paced world of suspense. It's a successful move, in my opinion.

Last Man Standing is a long and wild ride. Web London is a difficult man, but the investigation on which he embarks is compelling. Baldacci's 2001 release is a hit. Call me a satisfied reader anxiously waiting more novels by this talented author.

11/26/01
Like the Book? Buy it Now!
Other Books by
David Baldacci:

Absolute Power

Total Control

The Winner

The Simple Truth

Saving Faith

Wish You Well

The Christmas Train

Split Second
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