A man calling himself Oliver Stone set up a tent across from the
White House. He has a sign that reads, "I want the truth," and a
protest permit for both. He has a mysterious past, which has
invested in him a heightened sense of awareness and a lethal skill
set that only a handful of people need. He also has another name.
None of that may seem surprising in a town like Washington, D.C.,
but it does provide a lot of excitement.
Last year we were introduced to Oliver Stone and his trio of
eccentrics in THE CAMEL CLUB when the little group stumbled upon a
conspiracy that sent shivers through them. The plot they overheard
was so audacious that it could not be ignored, even by this odd
crew comprised of a brainy computer guy, a Vietnam vet, a
disheveled librarian and the enigmatic Oliver Stone. Calling
themselves the Camel Club, they used their individual talents to
avert a national disaster. This time, one of the Club members,
quiet librarian Caleb Shaw, stumbles --- literally --- upon a body
that turns out to be his boss, Jonathan DeHaven. Shaw ignominiously
faints and wakes up in a hospital, where his friends greet him with
relief --- and a little anxiety. It isn't everyday one finds a dead
body, so it should be understandable.
While visiting Shaw, Oliver Stone hears something from the medical
staff that is odd enough to start him wondering. The cause of
DeHaven's demise remains undetermined, but the word is that his
heart just stopped. For a healthy guy who recently had a check-up,
that doesn't ring quite true. Instantly, the Club is drawn into the
mystery, making plans on how to conduct their investigation.
Fortunately, Shaw has an "in" since he works at the Library of
Congress, the scene of the death. Additionally, he has been
entrusted with the task of cataloguing DeHaven's personal rare book
collection. So this gives Shaw --- and his cohorts --- access and,
more importantly, a legitimate reason to nose around in the dead
man's possessions. Their discoveries lead to a tangled web of
intrigue, sex and possibly even treason.
Meanwhile, an accomplished con and beautiful chameleon named
Annabelle Conroy has just finished a spectacular swindle and is
planning to split for parts unknown, to disappear forever. She
duped a ruthless and powerful man out of millions, and she knows
that Jerry Bagger will pursue her for the rest of his natural life.
Retiring to a remote island possibly might be safe, but hanging
around in the same hemisphere as Bagger almost definitely will not
be. She is about to make her escape when she spies a name from her
past and, against her better judgment, ends up working alongside
the Camel Club.
Of course, Oliver Stone and the Club have a menace of their own on
their tails: a man with a covert background similar to Stone's.
Like Jerry Bagger, millions are at stake for him. The Camel Club,
along with Annabelle, needs to muster every bit of intelligence,
skill, cunning, shrewdness and plain luck to come out of this
alive. A few dirty tricks and a little help from the FBI wouldn't
There is plenty of action, a few tentative romantic passes and a
little light philosophizing. By the wrap-up, the authorities
"thanked Stone for his help and left the door open for future
cooperation." And, fortunately for his fans, David Baldacci set the
stage for future escapades of the Camel Club. This series is a
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on December 28, 2010