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Deliver Us from Evil    by David Baldacci order for
Deliver Us from Evil
by David Baldacci
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2010 (2010)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

David Baldacci's latest engrossing thriller, Deliver Us from Evil, continues the larger than life story of superspy Shaw from The Whole Truth. Shaw is a Mission Impossible style operative, working for a US agency 'that doesn't officially exist'. He has a 'love-hate relationship' with his handler, Frank Wells. After his fiancée was murdered in The Whole Truth, Shaw ended up on the run with Pulitzer prizewinning journalist Katie James. Now, Katie keeps trying to renew their relationship but Shaw is avoiding her - why?

David Baldacci introduces a vigilante group whose primary agent, Regina 'Reggie' Campion confronts a wealthy elderly Nazi in Argentina with images of his victims as she executes him. Though there are no more such Nazis still alive, Reggie muses that 'there will always be monsters. And we have to hunt down every one of them.' Unfortunately, her organization and Shaw's pick the same villain, Evan Waller, as their next target. Though Waller built his wealth on human trafficking - and was a war criminal under a previous identity - he's recently decided to expand into selling nuclear materials to Islamic fundamentalists.

The only chink both groups can see in Waller's usually impenetrable security is his plan to holiday in the south of France. Reggie rents the villa next door, while Shaw stays in a local hotel. They meet and circle each other warily. When Waller shows up, he is immediately attracted to his lovely neighbor, just as Reggie had anticipated. As events move forward, Baldacci gradually reveals the terrible background that gave Reggie the will to perform her deadly role. After her team's plan to take out Waller goes awry, Shaw takes a hand (against orders) and acts the guardian angel to extract them from a nearly lethal situation.

That's when this chiller really takes off as an evil mind plans a prolonged revenge, with both Shaw and Reggie as his primary targets. Though Waller sets up his hunt with little opportunity for his victims to survive, they have help from a surprising source. It will be fun to find out what adventure comes next for both Shaw and Reggie in this developing series.

2nd Review by Tim Davis (Rating:3):

A famous author of police procedurals (Ed McBain) once described the process for writing his 87th Precinct novels: 'I usually start with a corpse. I then ask myself how {and why} the corpse got to be that way.'

This prescriptive analysis almost perfectly describes the power of David Baldacci's approach in Deliver Us From Evil, his latest novel featuring Shaw, the mysterious operative seen previously in The Whole Truth. Readers this time are invited not only to observe how the corpses get to be that way, but they must also confront another issue: If there is to be real justice in this world, should not certain people become corpses?

Here is how the non-stop action in Baldacci's superb thriller starts: A monstrous 'old, rich, perverted' man with plenty of 'enemies and ailments' is killed by a woman known to the man as Barbara (a.k.a. Regina Campion), a seductive companion who is obsessed with the brutal fact of life that 'there will always be monsters.' Because of Regina's employment with a shadowy group of justice-minded enthusiasts, her mission in life is simply stated: She and her cohorts are determined 'to hunt down every one' of life's evil monsters.

Enter separately the man known only as Shaw, currently working for Frank Wells (the manager of 'an agency that doesn't officially exist') and now tasked with tracking down and eliminating 'folks who desperately deserved it.'

As highly motivated vigilantes with different employers and different motivations, Regina and Shaw - 'playing the roles of judge, jury, and executioner' - are on a collision course because an ostensibly 'legitimate and highly successful businessman' named Evan Waller (a.k.a. Fedir Kuchin) is instead a mass murderer and war criminal who seems determined to add to his considerable list of sins by selling nuclear materials to Islamic fundamentalist terrorists.

So it is that Regina and Shaw find themselves embroiled in a '{d}amn inconvenient coincidence, going after the same scoundrel at the same time for different reasons.' Their quest, however, is further complicated by their slowly developing realization that the 'potential for evil lurks in all of us.'

The bottom line, though, is this: Can Regina and Shaw stop Waller (Kuchin) avoid a 'nuclear holocaust,' or will Waller (Kuchin) - a man with considerable resources and resilience - somehow change the game plan, create different dangers, and evade his pursuers? There is only one good way to discover the answer to that question: Read the exciting, highly recommended Deliver Us From Evil.

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