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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.
- Fun way to kill a few hours on a plane over the Pacific...
While on our recent cruise, I had to pick up some additional reading material. I actually finished The Collectors by David Baldacci almost a month ago, but I've been a bit too busy to get around to posting the review. Bottom line, it was a good conspiracy story with some major con job action going on.
A self-styled group called the Camel Club is out to expose lies and conspiracies in the government. They get sucked into a major one when the Speaker of the House is murdered by a sniper. This is followed by the death of the head of the Library of Congress. Seemingly unrelated deaths, and in fact the second one doesn't even appear to be a murder. But one member of the club, a librarian at the LoC, isn't quite sure of that. With a little digging, threads (and threats) are revealed that point to a major security leak of national secrets. An outsider, a female con artist of incredible talent, joins up with the group in order to pay back a casino owner for an earlier loss in her life, as well as to lend her talents to a greater good. Although she's not quite sure why she cares about them, and isn't just taking the money and leaving the country...
I've read Baldacci stuff in the past and enjoyed it. But for whatever reason, he's not on my "oh, he's got a new one out!" list of authors. I saw this one in paperback at a bookstore on the cruise, and it looked like it had the right tone for mind candy escapism. I probably would have enjoyed the story a bit more had I already known the characters. I got the feeling that more development had been done in earlier Camel Club stories, so I wasn't as "in tune" with them as I could have been. But to kill off a few hours on a plane over the Pacific, it was perfect. And the ending is such that there's plenty of room to continue the storyline with the con artist and the casino boss who wants her to die a slow and painful death...
- Con artists mixed with murder
The author brings back The Camel Club, a group of four men who together fight corruption within our government. Each member has or has had a connection with the government through one job or another and becomes very irritated when things go wrong that shouldn't. The club's unofficial leader is called by the name Oliver Stone. Caleb Shaw, Milton Farb, and Rueben Rhodes join Oliver in this secretive group that live and meet in the strangest places.
When several important government officials were found murdered, The Camel Club jumped into action, if you want to call their movement "jumping" since some are up in years but mostly in good physical shape. The club had a great liaison in the FBI who would help them when called, but the club stayed out of the way and didn't want to be known by others because of the secretive work they do.
Roger Seagraves is a go-between between some government officials and those that would hurt our nation by selling secrets to other foreign powers. Seagraves was a powerful man who thought he could do anything he wished from hurting someone's chance at a job to killing without conscience.
Add to this mix a super-con artist, Annabelle Conroy, with the looks and brains to pull off almost any con even to the best con men and to those that considered themselves con-proof! Oh but she was good. She worked with three others, one of whom was new and not quite up to par with Annabelle and Leo, her key co-conspirator. But he had to learn--and FAST before Annabelle pulled off any more big jobs. While the four of them were learning to pull off cons together, they did rip off a few that felt they couldn't be conned. All this while practicing for the big one with the notorious Jerry Bagger, the owner of a huge organization and one of the best con men around. Annabelle had some big ideas to really get Jerry where it hurt the worst, his wallet, and his pride.
When one con after another was successful, Annabelle felt they were ready for Bagger. Annabelle got very chummy with him and gained his confidence, as no one had ever been able to do. Meanwhile, Annabelle's ex-husband was killed in Washington and was a murder that The Camel Club was investigating. Annabelle was hiding from Bagger knowing if he ever caught her she would be good fertilizer when he was finished with her. But when she heard of her ex's demise she had to try to find out the how's and why's since she still had deep feelings for him. She eventually got to Washington and discovered The Camel Club quite by accident. They made a formidable team as they joined all their talent to delve into the killing of the ex and the other key murders.
I enjoyed the book but felt it bogged down a bit in places. I have always enjoyed Baldacci's books and while I would recommend The Collectors to you, I felt it was stretched out a bit but still contained a lot of action. It just was not the non-stop action I expect from David Baldacci.
- It really should have been two stories
This is the first Baldacci book I've read. This one really seemed to be two stores that were combined, in my opinion, very poorly. The book started out emphasizing the casino scam, with a little bit of the other thrown in, and then halfway through it reverses, with only 3 little sections on it in the rest of the book, which covered the espionage bit. The thing connecting the two stories was Annabelle, and it was a very unlikely connection (right before she's gonna flee the country she just happens to read about her old ex-husband's death in the paper and flies across country to attend the funeral - a little unrealistic). I was kind of disappointed with the ending. The espionage bit ended well, but it left much to be desired with the casino and Jerry Bagger.
Overall, I did enjoy the book and look forward to reading some more by Baldacci....more info
- The Camel Club continues to be sub par
Baldacci brings the characters from The Camel Club back for another random adventure. A curator at the Library of Congress is found dead in the Library and Caleb Shaw, Camel Club member and Library employee, finds him dead on the floor. Another political death had recently occurred and Oliver Stone, Club leader, believes that the two deaths are too coincidental to be unrelated. The group begins their own investigation into the deaths. But before they make much progress the bodies continue to pile up and they become targets themselves.
Alternately, Annabelle is a con with a history of illegal money scams. She has finally come up with the big one - rip off Jerry Bagger, Atlantic City casino owner that, years earlier, killed her mother because of something Annabelle's father did to Bagger. Annabelle has decided that it is payback time. But as she pulls off the long scam, she gets sucked into the activities of the Camel Club and their investigation. Her skills will be useful, but will that only serve to make it easier for Bagger to hunt her down?
This plot is random and uninteresting. The first third of the book flips back and forth so often from one plot line to the next that it is difficult to keep things straight. Then all of a sudden they are intertwined in the most implausible of ways. On a good note, it reads quickly and is completely brainless, so it is perfect for the beach or a long plane ride. The second in the Camel Club series, it does not bode well for this line of novels by Baldacci.
Prediction: in subsequent Camel Club books, Annabelle and Oliver become romantically involved. Annabelle's long missing (and presumed dead?) father winds up saving her from Bagger. Looks very predictable. I hope I'm wrong....more info
- fun fast pace read
I enjoy the book and really enjoy the crazy characters. It wasn't as good as "Simple Truth" or "The Winner", but still a fun read. ...more info
- The Collectors Collects Flies?...
"The Collectors" is a page-turning thriller with a great deal of authenticity. However, the believability of the story is about eight on a scale of one to ten. The major plot revolves around corruption in the State Department in Washington D.C. Some bad guy named Roger Seagraves, former assassin for the CIA, leads of group of conspirators that sells the country's secrets to the highest bidder. Of course, Seagraves murders anybody who gets in his way. His victims begin dropping like clay pigeons when people begin getting wise to the cabal's treasonous acts. A group of concerned folks, including a retired FBI agent, a clerk at the Library of Congress and one Annabelle Conroy, a slick-talking con artist, begin their pursuit of this evil clique. As a subplot, Annabelle Conroy - apparently a continuing character in Baldacci's books - has revenge on her mind when she conspires to cheat casino owner Jerry Bagger out of millions of dollars. (Bagger had murdered Conroy's mother, trying to recover $10,000 that had been stolen from him.) Bagger, single-minded and ruthless, is about as stereotypical as any character I've encountered since the days of Godfather clones. Unfortunately, the big showdown between Conroy and Bagger never happens at the end of the book. It seems one has to buy another of Baldacci's books to find out what transpires. Oh, screw you very much, sir! Altogether, though, the book is exciting and amusing, when banter takes place between characters. Maybe one of these days I'll find out what happens to Annabelle - without forking over the price of a book? Who knows?... ...more info
- Why does this guy sell millions?
Poorly written English - predictible, often idiotic characters - choppy little chapters and stereotypical plot. If MTV did a soap opera they would use this guys's stuff as scripts. ...more info
- It Was Just So Entertaining!
So many authors feel the need to bounce from one story line to another and create a confusing web to keep you on edge. I don't find that kind of storytelling as engaging as a well written straight forward story. This novel does have two storylines which eventually converge and Baldacci does a great job writing a very interesting story.
Now I want to go read the "Camel Club" which came before this story. It was just so good, a rare treat! The group of characters drove the story and keep me enjoying the novel from the first page to the last....more info
- A novel that keeps you turning the pages
I found The Collectors to be a very good novel.
This being my first Baldacci book, I was impressed with his characters and plot development.
I found myself looking forward to turning the page to find the next plot twist.
The final paragraph was a bit of a letdown, as I was hoping for all the loose ends to be tied up, but it does leave an open path for a follow-up book.
I will be reading more of Baldacci's work....more info
- Dan Baldacci a great storyteller!!
The "Collectors" is the follow up to Baldacci's "The Camel Club" which was the first book that I had ever read by Dan Baldacci and only ordered it because of the strange title.However "The Camel Club" opened a door to a return for me to real reading like I had not done in years."The Collectors" delves even deeper into the main characters of the "The Camel Club" and incorporates an excellent plot with plenty of twists and turns.I was able to plow thru this book in only a few days which is very fast for a slow reader like me.Baldacci's research of his background material is excellent.Books like these need to be made into movies. ...more info
- The Collectors
I don't watch soap operas,I don't watch episodes marked "first of two parts", and I hate end-of-season cliff-hangers. I want to see, or read, or listen to a complete story and then move on to something else. I don't like to have an ending held hostage.
I was enjoying this book on CD as a way to be entertained while driving, but was really annoyed to find it a cliff-hanger. I'll just assume that things turn out alright, but will avoid this author in the future. Books that play this trick on a reader at the end need to have a disclaimer on the cover....more info
- The Camel Club is Back
The Camel Club is back and better than ever. A great sequel to Baldacci's original Camel Club.
Oliver Stone and his rag-tag band of conspiracy hunters are drawn into the world of book collectors. Starting with the murder of the Director of the Library of Congress's rare books room and the assination of the Secretary of State, the Camel Club's mission once again is to find whats going on behind the closed doors of America's leaders.
When Annabelle Conroy, the greatest con artist of her time, arrives on the scene, the Club gets a sexy new edge. And they'll need it, because the two murders will fling them into the world of high stakes espionage that threatens to bring America to its knees....more info
- The Collectors Entertaining Read
In The Collectors, David Baldacci brings back his odd, quirky characters from his best seller, The Camel Club. Caleb Shaw, book worm, Milton Farb, obsessive compulsive with a photographic memory, Reuben Rhodes, Vietnam vet hippy, and secretive ring leader "Oliver Stone" take on another mission for truth in a city where truth is hard to find, Washington D.C.
Caleb finds a co-worker dead in a secluded area of the National Library of Congress. He is immersed further when he takes on the role of executor of the co-worker's collection of rare books. When he discovers a hidden copy of one of the rarest books in the country--a Bay Psalm Book--the Camel Club can't resist a mystery.
The four unlikely sleuths try to determine the authenticity of the book and find themselves up to their necks in danger--Oliver is nearly kidnapped, Caleb disappears--and no one knows who is behind it all.
A sub-plot twists throughout the book. Con-woman Annabelle Conroy schemes to pull off a heist of revenge against shady Atlanta City casino owner Jerry Bagger. In the midst of fleeing the country, her past brings a change in plans. She joins forces with the Camel Club boys to solve a murder of someone once close to her heart.
Baldacci creates lovable, laughable characters even though sometimes stretching their believability. Hardly a work of literary excellence, The Collectors is a fun, easy read with characters you'd like to get to know better over lunch. The Collectors kept me turning the pages till the very end when Baldacci sets up the plot for his next book. I only hope he writes quickly.
- An constant excellent read
I have read other works by Baldacci and this was my first entrance into The camel Club group. While another reviewer was correct, there is two stories on one going here, he does a good job of blending them together.
Nothing was too far out of the imagination and the characters were convincing. I am presuming they developed since the first Camel Club book came out. I read this in one flight, and that is my gauge for almost all the books I review on here. If I find it that enjoyable that I will read it instead of watching movies or sleeping, then it is worth reading by the masses.
I would have wanted to know that you need to keep count of who is who in the story to keep up, but Baldacci does a fine job of reminding you on a constant basis and keeps each character fun....more info
- Great Reading
Wonderful reading. I couldn't put it down. Baldacci does it again. first with the Camel Club, now with The Collectors. Can't wait to read
Stone Cold. Love David Baldacci's work. Have read other books by this author and will continue to read his works....more info
- Not worth the time invested reading it!
I can't believe this book has received so many 5 star reviews! To me it was like Baldacci got to a point where he thought "nup, can't be bothered with it anymore, I'll just wrap it up" - either that or he was past deadline. The `con/casino' story, which I thought was a more interesting plot than the main story, disappeared somewhere half way through the book only to be given a brief paragraph at the very end. Not to mention the "Scooby Do" ending that was the old cranky guy fooled them all with a wig and fake beard - laughable!...more info
- I liked it ...
In the second book about the wacky Camel Club, author David Baldacci follows two stories.
One tale deals with the murder of a mild-mannered employee of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and how the crime may or may not tie in with an arms merchant.
The other tells the story of a multi-million dollar con game in Atlantic City.
The two disparate plots have a common denominator - the murdered librarian. Baldacci brings the stories together in a light, easy read that makes you glad someone has filled the void left when Robert Ludlum died. (They're still publishing under Ludlum's name, but the books don't' have the same edge or sparkle.)
The characters of the Camel Club are as diverse as they are colorful. Their leader is a man calling himself Oliver Stone, and it's obvious he's no filmmaker. He has too many government connections and martial arts skills to be anything but a former spy, operative or assassin. The other members are Caleb, the mild-mannered librarian who worked with the murder victim; Rueben, the dockhand; and Milton, the computer genius. The four men are self-appointed watchdogs who can be very resourceful when it comes to sniffing out the bad guys in government.
The brains behind the Atlantic City swindle is Annabelle Conroy, "con" being the operative part of her last name. She learned her craft from her father, a master con. Her mother was murdered by one of her father's marks. Now, she's set to exact her own pound of flesh from the man who put a bullet in her mother's head.
Baldacci makes his readers take a big leap when he ties the stories and their characters together, but it's such a good time that he can be forgiven this one tiny blip on an otherwise very smooth, easy ride.
- Even better!
Badacci writes the perfect thriller mystery, whatever you call it.
Idon't know if this called pop culture novels or what, but i insist of that this is the kind of book that is an anjoyable ride. Well plotted, quality chatachters and way of writing.
It'a even better than The Camel Club
Two Thumbs UP!
- The Collectors
Book was received in excellent condition. Very timely delivery as well. Will definitely order from this vendor again. ...more info
- We expect perfection in that genre
The main quality of the book is that it starts with two lines that it joins later into one without completely closing any one of the two. The two lines are so different that the book becomes kind of funny when they join. On one hand a band of four gangsters that are making millions on the gullible back of a casino boss - who is of course crooked and criminal - in Atlantic City. They succeed though one mistake will cost his life to the younger gangsters who did make the mistake because of his unquenchable hormones. The second line is a spy ring in Washington DC that involves the Library of Congress - LOC for favored fans - and the rare books reading room as the medium for the the circulating of the stolen data and then later as the target itself because of the resistance of some of its personnel. I can't give away all the details of the successful destruction of the spy ring, a destruction that is only reached because the leader of the ring who is an inner circle CIA spy makes several mistakes that are absolutely unexplainable. He does not kill the one person he has abducted for interrogation though he has no use of him any more afterwards and this abducted person is revealed as in the know of too many elements and hence as dangerous. Then we could accumulate the smaller mistakes from beginning to end and the list would be long. Let's mention the last one only that will cost te spy ring boss his life when he decides to have a conversation with the same person as before instead of killing him straight away. How dumb one spy can be! Or is he in love with his counterpart? But the novel suffers because of it. It looks and sounds amateurish when we expect everything to be great art and powerful conjuring magic. The book though has a meaning. It shows marvellously well that no security system is good enough to prevent crime, spying, etc. There is always a possible con or plot, a possible way to make a con or a plot successful. It seems easier to kill someone than to pass water in the morning. The result is that the security of the USA is always endangered because there is a lot of money on the intelligence market and small secrets, or big war plans, will always interest those who have millions they don't know what to do with, especially millions of dollars that are depreciating so fast on the international market, though not on the US market. And in the end the best protection for the country comes from simple law-abiding citizens in alliance with patriotic ex-security people and expert criminals who are patriotic for reasons that have nothing to do with the nation itself, but rather with the USA as the money making territory that they are for them and may not be any more after a successful terrorist attack or war. The security of the US is in other words a simple business in contingency. To believe otherwise is plain either vanity or short-sightedness.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris I Panth¨¦on Sorbonne, University Paris Dauphine, Universit¨¦ Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines.
- The Collectors
I'm sorry about this book. So many holes in the plot. People associated with the main character seem to make the most unbelievable mistakes, getting hit in the head when they should be paranoid enough to be a little more aware of their surroundings, etc. The character Leo stupidly disclosing Annabelles identity after he professes to have an almost disabling paranoia of 'the mark'. The Camel Club was a superior novel, and even that book needed an upgrade to some of the common sensical details. Sadly, many of the holes in the plot of 'The Collectors' could have been fixed with minimal time involved. Its almost like he wrote it as fast as he could, then went on vacation. I will read his earlier books however. Let's hope Mr. Baldacci gets back on track. He's got some great ideas. I also hope that the sequel will be a little more sensible as far as common sense mistakes go. Wear gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints? Look behind you when standing in a dark room while a killer is on the loose? Let Oliver out of his cage a little more?
In all fairness I'd have to give him high marks for character development. I'll continue to read his offerings and I hope that the 'Camel Club' get's a better world to exist in. It's a great premise, but too quickly written....more info
- Good for what it is; horribly unsatisfying ending
This book is pretty good for what it is: Pure entertainment; literary fluff. The characters are not even remotely realistic -- the most believable one is referred to as "a walking caricature of a casino chieftain in a bad mob film." Indeed, all of the characters are cinematic (think "made for TV" or "straight to video"), which is fine if you're interested in reading the male equivalent of a Harlequin romance novel. And if you're never in the mood for such a thing, you're not much fun!
One thing is for sure: The book kept me interested, and I eagerly read every page until it was finished. Many times I would marvel at the ingeniousness of the author in conniving intricate-but-plausible plot devices and schemes. But nearly as often, I was incredibly dissatisfied by unexplainable, unrealistic segues and events. For example: A character is abducted and tortured, and upon waking up back at his home, he and his friend are almost entirely unconcerned about it and, instead, are more worried about showing up to an event on time. "Oh, you were tortured? That's too bad. Hey, we better get going if we want to get popcorn before the movies!" (I'm exaggerating here, but only slightly). Elsewhere, a bomb is set off during the National Book Fair / March on Poverty, but it does nothing but cause a very mild diversion -- in post-9/11 D.C.!? They then have a gun fight on the train -- as if there would even BE a train running after a bomb was set off in the capital! -- and the passengers on the train seem to barely notice!
But the ending truly took the cake. With nowhere to go, the author invokes a deus ex machina -- an "honorary member of the Camel Club" (which is like the Baby Sitters Club for sixty-year-old men) who works for the Secret Service. What ensues is entirely unbelievable, even given the precedent set elsewhere throughout the book. And finally, the plot is foiled when the Scobbie Squad pull a fake beard off one of the bad guys, and he spills the entire story over the course of several pages. It should also be noted that the villains went to the Dr. Evil school of killing their enemies -- if they're main characters, make sure you tie them up and wait for them to die in some elaborate manner (so they can escape), rather than, say, shooting them in the face.
The worst part of the book was that a parallel storyline involving the aforementioned casino chieftain (again, the most plausible character presented in the book) does not resolve itself at all, but instead, merely sets up a future book for Mr. Baldacci. I felt positively cheated by this!
This is the first Baldacci novel I've read, and I did so upon the recommendation of a fellow Ron Paul supporter. It was nice to read a spy-type novel in which the protagonists are skeptical of state power and are against the military-industrial complex (but I should be honest and admit what really hooked me is that I share my last name with the arch-bad guy). I DID enjoy this book, despite my criticisms, and I do think that Mr. Baldacci is a talented writer. However, like many of those whose trade paperbacks find their way to supermarket book racks, Baldacci's primary concern is churning out titles in assembly-line fashion. If he ever went a few years between releases, I'm sure he could put together a truly remarkable novel. Until then, I'll pass on his future efforts....more info
- Good plot, poor writing
Balducci sometimes comes up with good plot ideas, as he did in The Collectors, but they're weakened by his inability to create believable characters, write believable dialog, or use good English. ...more info
- Excellent read - couldn't put it down!
I bought this book for my husband many months ago, and just picked it up from his shelf to look at as a summer read. After two chapters, I couldn't put it down! Very well written, interesting, entertaining, and I love the cliff-hanger end. My next read will be The Camel Club.
- On time service.
Seller was on time with the shipment of this item and it was in great condition as mentioned. Good service....more info
- If you like Scooby Doo....
This book started off at a pretty good pace but quickly spiraled downward as the story line became more and more absurd.
Essentially, a group of old men, who apparently hang out together, gather as friends in order to monitor the U.S. government and save the world from imminent danger. They call themselves "The Camel Club."
In this case, a high level government official is murdered as is a caretaker at the Library of Congress.
The group springs to action to solve the murders, along with Annabelle--a woman who makes her living hustling others out of their money. Sound ridiculous? It is......
The end, which I won't give away here, gets even sillier and is reminiscent of a Scooby Doo cartoon. When they catch one of the evil doers, all I could hear is, "And I would have gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for you darn old men....."
I don't recommend this book....more info
- Eccentric, Ecclectic FriendsTaking Care of Business
This is a group of old friends with very different interests and abilities that come together to solve the mysterious death of one of their own. Seemingly different stories in the beginning, come together to make for some great reading that you will leave you with the, can't put it down till I finish, feeling. ...more info