The Innocent By David Baldacci
Reviewed by John
An assassin in the employ of the U.S. government shows up for his appointed kill, a middle-aged woman in her modest apartment in Washington D.C.
The assassin, Will Robie, has second thoughts when he sees the woman has a young child with her. He decides he can’t carry out the hit for the first time in his career. In the next instant, a sniper’s bullet flies through the woman’s window and kills both the woman and her child.
The next bullet, Robie concludes, has his name on it. He flees from the scene and boards a bus where he sees a 14-year-old girl who is riding a wave of bad luck of her own.
A man sits behind her and is about to kill her when she unexpectedly hits him with a can of pepper spray. Robie takes over and clobbers the would-be assailant.
The girl leaves the bus and Robie follows. When they get down the street, the bus explodes killing everyone aboard.
The question throughout the rest of the book is whether the explosion and other deaths follow the girl or are a form of payback for Robie’s past work.
I like the character Will Robie, the super-competent spy/assassin in the vein of James Bond or Jason Bourne, but I had never previously read The Innocent, the first in the series.
I wanted to like the book because of Robie. I gave it three stars and that’s a stretch because the novel had several flaws starting with the implausibility of the two main storylines coming together.
David Baldacci is a skilled writer and he tries to smooth things so they mesh like cogs in the machine.
A skilled writer can bring any two story lines together, however divergent, and add details so they might work together. The word seamless comes to mind when an author does this well.
In this case, the big stitches show.