Review

Last Man Standing

by David Baldacci



We learn in paragraph one of page one that Web London is a man
steeped in violence, always prepared to kill and to do so
efficiently and without error. Sound like a deranged outlaw to be
tracked down by John Sandford's Lucas Davenport or Robert Parker's
Spencer? Wrong. Web is an FBI man, leader of a specially trained
and highly skilled killing unit, respected and operating wholly
within the law.  

Still, in Chapter One, we see Web and his unit about to perform a
high-profile drug bust that goes horribly wrong, and Web sees his
entire unit wiped out, leaving him the last man standing. Then the
plot gets complicated. Characters totally unconnected with the
story die under suspicious circumstances, seemingly Good Guys turn
out to be Bad Guys, and seemingly Bad Guys turn out to be Good
Guys. Yet with Baldacci's delicate touch it's not possible to
predict which of the characters is which, not even with the clues
thrown in by the author. "Who can you trust?" becomes a fair
question from the reader's point of view. With just a bit of
imagination, the reader can visualize the mischievous grin on
Baldacci's face as he types in yet another twist to his intricate
plot. In a Hollywood movie, Baldacci tells us, these things might
happen, but they rarely do in the unfairness of life.

For good measure, he throws in many facts that may or may not be
central to the advancement of the main plot. For want of a better
term we might categorize these under the heading of The Department
of Fairly Useless Information. For instance, the guard at Arlington
Cemetery marches 21 steps, pauses for 20 seconds, switches his
rifle to the other shoulder, does an about-face, then marches back
along the same narrow path. In another scene the author discourses
on the finer points of taxidermy. And, perhaps most intriguing of
all in the DOFUI, we learn where to make the very first cut in
dressing a newly killed deer.

LAST MAN STANDING boasts an intricate plot, well-drawn characters,
and quick readability --- unless one wishes to pause occasionally
to savor an especially keen observation of the author. Surrendering
all fancy language, this is a gripping story told by an excellent
storyteller.

Reviewed by Chuck Lang (Luck87@AOL.com) on January 22, 2011

Last Man Standing
by David Baldacci

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Vision
  • ISBN-10: 0446611778
  • ISBN-13: 9780446611770