Last week I had to travel by train from my home in the Midlands to Llandudno for a job interview. The morning of my departure I downloaded Divine Justice, so I would have something to read on my journey, in case I got bored with the other book I was reading. (Which I did – it really wasn’t the kind of day where I wanted to be reading political commentary all day!). I would say it was a good reading day, as I managed to read all of Divine Justice in the 8 hr journey there & back!
If you have not read any of the other books in the Camel Club series (The Camel Club, The Collectors, Stone Cold), then you probably want to stop here.
Divine Justice is another example of what a good thriller writer Baldacci really is. Although you do not have to have read the others in the series before this one, it really is a good idea to do so. Divine Justice picks up where Stone Cold left off, though a few months later. Oliver Stone is a wanted man after killing the two men responsible for so much pain in his life, and is on the run from more than one branch of the authorities. When he discovers that the authorities (in the form of CIA tracker Joe Knox) are close on his tail, he decides it’s time to get out of town. Stone buys a ticket for the train and is on his way – until his sense of justice gets the better of him, and he comes to the defense of a young man getting beaten up on the train. Stone ends up getting kicked off the train for his efforts (along with the others who’d been in the fight), leaving himself with an invalid train ticket & not much else.
Recognising that he’s in trouble, having spent most of his money on his train ticket, Stone travels with Danny (the young man he helped) back to his home town, Divine, Virginia. Something doesn’t seem quite right about the town, though. There’s a prosperity that seems unexplained, with the only industries in the town being the coal mines & the super-max prison. Soon, Stone starts to see exactly what lies underneath the prosperity – rampant corruption, coal miners addicted to pain killers, meth & all sorts of other drugs who have to get daily methadone injections to pass the urine tests, to allow them to work, and something else Stone can’t quite figure out. Something that could bring down the whole town.
Stone quickly gets drawn into the town’s troubles, making it difficult to hide, at a time when hiding is the thing he needs the most. Meanwhile, Joe Knox, notorious CIA tracker is hot on Stone’s trail. Knox has interviewed the other members of the Camel Club & knows they are hiding something, that they are protecting Oliver & he plans to use them to flush Oliver out.
I flew through all of the previous offerings in the Camel Club series & Divine Justice was no different in that regard! I saw an amazon review that was titled “Baldacci meets Lee Child” – that is a fair assessment in this case. If you have read any of the Jack Reacher books, you’re used to Reacher’s special form of vigilante justice & in Devine Justice, Oliver Stone takes a page out of Reacher’s play book. That didn’t make this a cheap Reacher imitation, though, just an interesting, previously unexplored theme featuring a familiar lead character.