|The Camel Club
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Conspiracy theories--everybody has one. The difference with this conspiracy is that it's all too real. David Baldacci's The Camel Club takes readers inside the Beltway as four unlikely misfits struggle not only to survive, but to save their president and their country from a plot that will lead to nuclear disaster.
Last Man Standing
The Simple Truth
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The Camel Club. Four members, four stories, one philosophy. Men with no past and no future, they spend their time studying wild conspiracy theories that reach to the highest levels of government. One fateful night ,The Camel Club witnesses a shocking murder and realizes that even their wildest theories are not as horrifying as the truth...
Soon, they have an ally in the person of Alex Ford, a career Secret Service agent who,while investigating the murder, realizes that a far larger crime is being put into place.Ford and the members of The Camel Club must subvert a misguided mission that threatens to usher in a terrifying new era, sculpted by one man's horribly distorted vision of justice...
THE CAMEL CLUB is vintage Baldacci:intelligent, terrifying, thrilling fiction that could be tomorrow's fact.
- Spend a little time at a shooting range.
He says some silly things about guns. In Absolute Power the shooter liked to use a .460 Weatherby Magnum. Silly!
And in Camel Club the guy is wasted with a .22 revolver loaded with jacketed bullets! Huh?
Then there is the deal about two guys carrying an unconscious victim a considerable distance in a tarp. Just try it. And then one pulls a boat out of his pocket big enough to carry the three of them and, by the way, has an amazing silent motor to power it. Tom Swift stuff.
But it's still a pretty good read. ...more info
- The Camel Club plods like one
Nobody loves a conspiracy theory more than me. But not this one. Mainly because its not a thriller so much as a thinly disguised attempt to tell us we really are the Great Satan, and that Americans would be better off with a Socialist government, and that peace is attainable only if we give half of our wealth to the Muslims of the world.
First, the book. It seems that there's a conspiracy within Homeland Security, and that only 4 or 5 well placed people there can actually dupe the whole multi-billion dollar system. Ok. I've had to suspend belief beyond this chidish assumption, so let's soldier on. Then, we plod along for almost 400 pages, where we learn the following:
1. The world's resources should be doled out equally to the world's inhabitants like a plate of Grandma's tasty pastries, because she'll never make another one, and that's the only fair thing to do.
2. Good decent Muslims only came to hate us because of Iraq.
3. But for the first two points, there would be peace in the middle east.
4. Mentally deranged geniuses and hobos can save the world, without telling anyone.
5. Our government officials, gloating over our superiority, are kept from raining nuclear weapons on the world without provocation only by the slimmest of fortuitous events.
The Camel Club has an unnecessarily confusing beginning, a tediously, plodding middle and finishes so abruptly and implausibly we're left with the impression Balducci either tired of writing or his editors forced him into a timeline.
In the last 100 pages, we're introduced to new characters of such malicious, evil stupidity that the whole book could have been written about them. Here they are only used to bring some strange and bizarre ending.
In the Camel Club, we give Balducci virtually 600 pages of our precious time to prove why Americans are at fault for 9/11 because we really are the Great Satan. He does a terrible job, and ends up revealing the argument for the tragic parody it really is.
I've tried to like David Balducci. I really have. But really, this guy gets rich doing this? Please. And in the middle of a war yet. What an insulting time to display his insidious and childish sermonizing....more info
- The Camel Club is cool!
The Camel Club is cool. They're an odd group of conspiracy theorists, led by Oliver Stone, on a quest for the truth.
Baldacci weaves quite a tale that keeps your attention and is full of twists and turns.
I thought this was a great mystery thriller with a bunch of interesting characters.
This is the first Camel Club novel. The second is The Collectors and the third is Stone Cold....more info
- A CHILLING PREMISE MADE ALL TOO REAL
If you see the name James Naughton on an audiobook you can count on a noteworthy performance. Actor, singer, director; he can do it all. He's a two-time Tony Award winner (Chicago and City of Angels), plus his debut solo album was recorded in 2003. Naughton directed the production of Our Town starring Paul Newman for Broadway and PBS. Now, if he directed Paul Newman, you know he has to be better than good.
If you need further proof, don't miss hearing his narration of The Camel Club. I've listened to it twice and would happily do so again. His voice is distinct, deep, resonant. His reading is almost understated as he narrates with calm confidence as suspense mounts. It would have been easy to over dramatize the following intense opening lines - Naughton doesn't make that mistake. In modulated tones, letting Baldacci's words stun we hear: He was running hard, bullets embedding in things all around him. He couldn't see who was shooting, and he had no weapon to return fire. The woman next to him was his wife. The young girl next to her was their daughter. A bullet sliced through his wife's wrist, and he heard her scream. Then a second bullet found its target and his wife's eyes widened slightly. It was the split-second bulge of the pupils that signaled death before one's brain could even register it. As his wife fell, he raced to his little girl's side to shield her. His fingers reached for hers but missed. They always missed."
So begins David Baldacci's tense story of four men obsessed with conspiracy theories. They meet one evening on an island in the Potomac River. The group, led by a man who has taken the name of Oliver Stone, had intended to share ideas. So much for good or bad intentions. They witness a killing, staged to look like a suicide.
Before long they join forces with Secret Service agent Alex Ford to combat an evil that would cause ultimate destruction.
There have been odder heroes but few such compelling scenarios as Baldacci laces his narrative with contemporary issues and events, all of which serve to make his chilling premise alarmingly real.
- Gail Cooke
- Decent, If Completely Implausible
Mr. Baldacci has constructed another decent summertime read. Just be prepared to have your suspension of disbelief stretched (believe it or not, compassionate terrorists!) and you'll get to muscle through some truly clunky, clumsy dialogue. I could give you several examples, but as a general rule, Baldacci uses dialogue as his method of information delivery to the audience, rather than simple explanitory prose:
1) You'll encounter secret service agents that evidently need to explain the mundane details of their protocols to each other.
2) You'll hear a clerk at the Library of Congress explain the book viewing process in painstaking detail to a guy who goes there routinely. The other guy doesn't ask him to hurry up.
3) You'll meet a muslim woman who articulately explains at length the many wonderful virtues of Islam to a gum-smaking American woman who can barely form a coherent sentance and is distracted by the many infidelities she's about to commit...
You may roll your eyes. Probably more than once. If eye-rolling isn't your thing, you might just sigh and beg Mr. Baldacci to "GET ON WITH IT!"
There are a good number of interweaving plot lines, but the paper-thin characters can make it very easy to find onesself asking, "Who are we talking about again? Is this the blond guy from the NSA or the brown-haired dude from the CIA or the red-head from the PTA?"
Please don't expect a whole lot of action prior to Chapter 20. Or for a few chapters after that. At least the words are small and clip-clop along at a brisk pace.
If all this sounds like your kind of book, then The Camel Club could be worth a guilty-pleasure read....more info
- Warm Up to Oliver...
Took a while to warm up to the characters, but then it was a pretty easy read. Different sort of personalities, generally untypical in an action/intrigue sort of novel. I found the club participants interesting. Does seem like this book does best in terms of setting a foundation for the other couple Camel Club books. Not a whole lot "happens." Typical solving and uncovering of a crime... took a while for me to make it thru the first 100 pages....more info
- Forced myself to finish this book.
I only bought this book because I mistakenly picked up Stone Cold not realizing it was a series. I started reading it and felt like I was missing something so I looked online and realized there were 2 books I should have read before reading Stone Cold.
Anyways, I never would have finished this book if it wasn't part of a series. I forced myself to read it because from the little I read of Stone Cold I was hooked and I wanted to get to know the characters so I wasn't confused about who they were. I can normally finish a book this size in 2 to 3 days. This book took me 2 weeks to finish. The storyline is confusing and all of the abbreviations made my eyes cross. I had trouble keeping certain characters straight. It was just a long, drawn out book that needed to be shortened and simplified.
Really the only reason I'm giving it 3 stars is because I love the characters. Olive, Reuben, Caleb, and Milton are refreshing and insightful. I enjoyed their personalities and different quirks. Milton's OCD had me laughing and feeling incredibly empathetic for him. Reuben strikes me as a giant teddy bear who would do anything to protect the one's he loves.
I'm currently reading the second book in this series, The Collectors, and I will say the pain of finishing The Camel Club was worth it because The Collectors is wonderful. I'm zipping threw it like I do most books. ...more info
- Fun characters
David Baldacci's Camel Club introduces us to the quirky fun characters that give the book its title. The fact that the "club" lives on through 3 subsequent books illustrates that this is a winning formula. The Camel Club is a group of eccentric middle aged men who enjoy meeting and investigating conspiracy theories. They happen upon a murder and are quickly thrown into the middle of the biggest conspiracy theory of them all.
The author introduces a lot of characters to the mix, but he does a good job of bringing everyone together for the finale. My only complaint about the book is that much of the dialogue between the club members sounds like something out of Scooby-Doo. At the end, I was expecting someone like Velma to pull off the bad guy's mask. However, don't let that discourage you from reading this fine novel....more info
- Blah, unfortunately
Well - i kept seeing these Baldacci books, and figured i'd give them a try. I started with the one, forget the title, where Stone teams up with the female who reunites with her father, who is being hunted by the casino boss guy...well, that was a solid book, so i thought i'd backtrack and read some earlier ones by Baldacci. The Simple Truth was also a worthy effort. But then, i read Camel Club - i was curious as to the origins of Oliver Stone and his little band of friends. This book was average. I'd give it 2.5 stars. The character Hemingway was interesting, but Stone/Carr was pretty dull. There are flashes of intrigue and great reading, but they are few and far between. I was also reading another book called Term Limits by Vince Flynn, and it's far superior. ...more info
- Great intro to a series I hope to enjoy.
I very much enjoyed the book and its characters.
As a hack writer, I appreciated that the main characters are flawed and realistic. Often the main characters become invincible and unbelievable, have an answer for everything... and ultimately lose me.
Villains in the story (Hemingway and Gray) share this "super" quality, and that was unfortunate, but not enough for me to put the book down.
The story line was in line with current America and while some details and coincidences were extraordinary, this is fiction after all...
If I wanted 100% believable details I wouldn't be reading fiction.
Good story. Good characters. Fun read.
Looking forward to the next in the series.
- Fast paced and entertaining
This was a fast paced, entertaining book. It was hard at the beginning to keep all the characters straight, I found myself referring back to previous chapters. However, the characters are developed at a good pace, just enough to keep wanting for more at the end of each chapter. The lead characters are interesting and intriguing in revealing their back stories. All in all a good read, definitely worth your time....more info
- It was a real page turner...
I have read a lot of books, and usually don't pick this type of book, but I read THE COLLECTORS and liked it, so I read this one too. It was a bit confusing at first, but once I caught on, it was very suspenseful. I wish our country would try to meet the "ransom" conditions presented in the book, as I think it would be a much better world. I sure hope we learn from our mistakes in Iraq....more info
- Another Baldacci Great
David Baldacci manages to tell a serious story against the backdrop of the nation's capital in a sort of different way. In 'The Camel Club,' Baldacci introduces us to several friends who make up the Camel Club, a small club that is dedicated to uncovering the conspiracies of the government. They are all interesting characters (the leader calls himself 'Oliver Stone') who start out investigating a murder that they witness. This plunges them headlong into a conspiracy at the highest levels.
On the side, we are introduced to another group of characters preparing for something in the small town of Brennan,PA which is named after the fictional president that Baldacci made up. He gives you some details of what they are preparing to do, and you know that it's going to be something BIG. It takes two-thirds of this long book to set up the murder mystery by the Camel Club, and the events shrouding Brennan, PA.
When the stuff goes down in Brennan, the book REALLY takes off. I won't spoil anything, but the story takes some major turns.
Another excellent book by David Baldacci....more info
- Great Seller
Book came super fast, condition was as is stated. Will definitely look forwards to doing business again...more info
- The Camel Club
Great characters - a story that spins and twist and is so well resolved in the end. I want to read about these four main charaters ("The Camel Club") again...more info
- Not bad
Since the copy I am currently reading--at exactly the mid-point of the book--was found in a New York City subway car I can't complain about the price. This is the first David Baldacci book I've read, so I'll take other reveiwers' word that he has done better.
All in all, while I agree with many comments regarding the plethora of characters and seemingly implausible plot line(s), it is a pleasant enough book, certainly an engaging beach read. I AM glad, however, that I didn't have to buy it in hardcover....more info
- offensively idiotic
I did not believe that anybody could match idiocy of J.Patterson's books, now we have a very strong contender in the field.
- B Movie
When I first started the book I thought it was interesting. I thought the characters were decent. Most of the secret service protocol stuff and how the president travels is accuarte. Baldacci knows his stuff or it seems anyways but the book becomes a B movie you see on Showtime. The president travels with a thirty car motorcade with some of the most sophisticated communication and weapon arsenal fathomable. Theres no way ever terroists could accomplish whats accomplised in the book. Besides the 4 suburbans of secret service agents, personal militia, snipers, air support and everything else theres backup in case something like this happened. It was entertaining but unrealistic. i thought Oliver Stone and the camel club were great but even Stones back story is still hidden within the text. I found myself getting lost at murder mountain trying to keep up with the circus atmosphere. I wouldnt have even blinked if Baldacci mentioned clowns on stilts kidnapping the president. The author had me fooled from the beginning. The book was too long and drawn out with sub par dialogue. Still enjoyable but could have been a lot better with less words and characters....more info
- Too Slow
When the author when into a two+ page tangent on the Library of Congress he lost me. The first 100 pages don't move. I quit at p. 107. Several of his earlier works were much better....more info
- Camel ClubPicked up the book
When I picked up the book I could not put it down. Very Good....more info
- Really enjoyed this one...
Really enjoyed this book and I am placing orders for the next 2 that follow. This was the first "serious" book that I have read in years (since college) and I must say it was great. I endured a few late nights as I didn't want to put the book down. I just finished the book and I am sad that I don't have the next one to start reading right away. ...more info
- 3 1/2 Stars
Alex Ford is a Secret Service agent on White House detail with three years to go until retirement. He's tempted to coast the rest of the way through his career, until a "suicide" that seems too cut-and-dried has him asking questions. Oliver Stone is a protester who has a tent in the park across the street from the White house. He and his three friends know more about the death of Patrick Johnson than just about anyone, since they witnessed his murder. The FBI is willing to write Johnson's death off as a suicide, since it appears he shot himself, left a note, and drugs were found in his home, but Johnson's fianc¨¦e isn't buying it. Her suspicions have agent Ford and his rookie partner investigating and getting themselves in hot water with the Secret Service. Alex can't let it go, though, when suddenly several terrorists suspiciously kill each other off. He's demoted down to protection detail in Brennan, Pennsylvania, when the president makes a campaign stop in his hometown, but this puts him unwittingly in the middle of an intricate plot against the president of the United States. Alex doesn't want to listen, but Oliver Stone and his Camel Club hold the keys to unraveling the mystery and saving the world from World War III.
This was mostly an engaging suspense thriller with warm, comfortable characters who were ordinary people with extraordinary pasts. The plot unfolded at a steady pace, the story moving smoothly from character to character while the suspense built. Unfortunately, the plot took a ridiculous turn near the end (8 hours to Armageddon?) and some of the characters' actions were extremely unrealistic. Had a bit of restraint been used rather than going over the top, the same amount of tension could have been woven into the story without getting silly. The rest of the book, and the story itself, were engaging, if a bit anti-American in a coddle-the-poor-misunderstood-terrorists sort of way. If one's beliefs lean that way, it's a plus, I suppose. In all, this was a book that kept me turning the pages, and I will read Baldacci again
- The Camel Club
I was very pleased with the book, its condition, and the service from the seller....more info
- This books stinks
The author can tell a pretty good story, but the plot here is on the far side of improbable. The problem is that he can't write worth a damn. The dialog is really bad - *nobody* actually talks the way his characters do. And the characters themselves are thinner than cardboard. Baldacci seems to favor the George Bush view of life - totally black or white, you're either with us or against us. Not to mention a few technical howlers. Baldacci mentions, over and over again, the devastating effect of "supersonic" rifle rounds. As far as I know, just about every rifle bullet (in fact probably bullets from most any gun) go supersonic. This book is lousy, and I'll never waste my time with Baldacci again. At least this one was loaned to me, so I didn't waste my own money.
- Just curious...
When Hemingway met with the man referred to as just the Arab in Frankfurt, were there any leftist talking points the Arab missed? I literally laughed when he said, "You have only 5% of the world's population but consume 25% of the energy." That was one of about twenty liberal talking points he managed to get out in about two pages. I felt embarrassed for the author after reading that exchange....more info
- Held my attention to the end.
Like most Baldacci books this one is longer than it should be but it held my interest on a long drive. With the distractions of driving while listening, the unabridged book is best as you can 'miss' some of it and still keep the flow going. Well spoken audio book worth the money....more info
- Eccentric Group of Guys, Interesting Times
A great book about an eccentric group of buddies in the Washington DC area. They could be any group of friends, like you and me, that just happen to be in very interesting places, during suspicious times. They use their individual talents to thwart the bad guys, who are very real and dangerous. The story line is more than believeable and makes you wonder. The liasons they make, leave you waiting for the next installment, but very pleased with the way everything is tied up in the end. I can't wait to find out what they do with Jerry Bagger in the next book!...more info