ABSOLUTE POWER 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
PAN MACMILLAN UK 2016
Sent to me by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review
Book Info: Paperback, Law Thriller, 556pp
Audience: Readers looking for excitement, thrills and intense storylines with a great cast of characters.
Summed up in a few words: Misdirection. Defining. Electrifying.
First Impression: I can definitely see why this book launched David Baldacci's career, he put everything into this piece (took him 3 years to write) and it shows. Putting together a storyline this big and creating the characters to fulfill his vision and threading it into a ground breaking piece must have been challenging but Baldacci made it look too easy. This book was released in 1996 and it still relevant, I can see the influence that this book gave the authors that I read today. Absolute Power is a lengthy piece but Baldacci keeps developing his style and adding new dimensions all the way through to the satisfying conclusion.
Luther Whitney is a lifelong criminal, his being speciality breaking and entering. Luther has standards, only robbing those who can afford it, no weapons and definitely no violence. When a routine robbery goes awry when an unexpected party turns up half way through Luther robbing a house, Luther manages to find a spot to hide while one of the most high profile murders in the history of America occurs right in front of him. A murder involving the current President Of The United States. Luther manages to escape with both his life and a piece of evidence that could have monumental consequences for the leader of the free world.
Luther goes on the run and the office of the President use their significant resources to find him and anyone else who knows even the smallest detail about the events of that night. Jack Graham has everything going for him, the rich fiance, he is a partner at the best law firm in town and enjoys the endless connections that come with the position, but when Luther asks him for his help, he is willing to risk it all to help protect his friend.
This is bold tale and I had such a great time reading it. I have to be honest, this is my first Baldacci piece as I am a Grisham addict, but Baldacci is a juggernaut who uses thrills and adrenaline to entice readers into great reading experiences. I will absolutely be going back for more and I suggest that thriller lovers who have not read any of his work need to start with this book. This is a brutal, cunning, witty and sleazy piece that brings everyone, even the President down to street level.
I could tell this piece was written and re-written time and again, as I was reading I could see where Baldacci had thought a scenario could go differently, be more thrilling, darker, smarter and surprise the reader. It made for an awesome read. The writing style is a mix between formal and informal, with foul/sexual language mixed with high class, governmental dialogue, but of course both worlds swiftly bleed into each other. I would say it fits well into the genre, but it practically defined the modern era of thrillers so top marks there. The length of the book is questionable, everything has its place but it did take me a fair while to complete the book, so if you are looking for a quick thrill then this is not for you.
I really enjoyed the vast array of characters that Baldacci created for Absolute Power. There are characters that are corrupted, tainted and evil, there are the good people who just want to see justice and then there are people who blur the line beyond all recognition. Luther is an honest criminal, he steals because he is good at it, but he is the most lovable and honest criminal you could ever meet.
Jack Graham is the blue print for the modern day brave, smart and tough male characters we see in fiction today. Kate Whitney is a bit questionable, fuelled by hate for her father being in and out of prison, she is constantly changing sides which is rather infuriating.
Team President are phenomenal, my mind was constantly blown by how far they would go to protect their leader, even the best, most honourable Secret Servicemen were on their knees by the end. Other law enforcers and politicians that are either investigating the scandal or are drawn into it are not naive and it makes for some amazing twists and turns for the story. Relationships are destroyed, repaired, stretched and created, everyone has their place and Baldacci does such a great job of orchestrating the downfall of the most powerful man in the world.
90's Washington D.C is a turbulent and chaotic place, especially with a suspected high profile murderer roaming around within its confines. D.C helps drive this story, with politicians and suspicious law enforcement constantly cornering suspects and influencing citizens. The power of the capital city gets in everyone's heads and makes them perform actions they never thought possible with significant consequences.
My 100% favourite element to this book was Baldacci's masterful skill at flowing in and out of each character. There are scenes in this book where within 3 pages you have been in the heads of 6 or 7 different people, so it is so flawless in execution that it is inspiring instead of confusing. My main complaint would be the length, at over 500 pages it is an investment in time, but a worthy one in my opinion. This book is not for those looking for an easy read, there is violence, murder, sex, abuse and disgusting human behaviour. Despite the ugliness it is a great example of the spectrum of human behaviour and that not everyone is who they seem to be.
Overall I gave this book full marks as it one of the books that defined the style of thrillers that I enjoyed as a kid in the early noughties. It has strong plot structure, great characters and that little extra something that keeps you turning those pages until you get to an ultimately satisfying conclusion. Check it out and thank me later. Thank you to Pan Macmillan for the copy of Absolute Power The 20th Anniversary Edition. And thank you to everyone who reads this review, I hope to see you back here at Always Trust In Books soon :D
About The Author: David Baldacci is a worldwide bestselling novelist. With his books published in over 45 different languages and in more than 80 countries, and with over 110 million copies in print, he is one of the world's favourite storytellers. Whilst researching his novels, David Baldacci has been inside the buildings of some of the world's leading intelligence agencies, meeting real-life spies and intelligence leaders. David is also the co-founder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to eliminating illiteracy across America. Find out more at: www.davidbaldacci.com/ (Official Bio)