Stone Cold is the third Camel Club mystery novel by David Baldacci. It follows the closing chapters of The Collectors after Annabelle Conroy pulled a con on casino owner Jerry Bagger and opens up a whole new can of worms in Oliver Stone's past. A pretty solid mystery and thriller, Stone Cold is best served after warming up with the last chapters of The Collectors as the Conroy story is central to this one.
I tend to dislike mystery novels that are not stand alone. Stone Cold loses a lot of its interest if you are not familiar with the Annabelle Conroy secondary story in The Collectors as it is, here again, the secondary story in this mystery thriller. Stone Cold is pretty much built along the same lines as The Collectors: a very clever killer is knocking off important people in Washington. This time around, the victims are retired CIA agents who were part of the same secret Triple Six unit Oliver Stone was a member of.
The killings force Stone to reexamine and reveal his past to members of the Camel Club. Stone's true identity and name are revealed after someone starts using him as target and hound to flush out the fox doing the killings. Meanwhile, Annabelle Conroy decides to square off with Jerry Bagger as the only way she has to survive his relentless pursuit.
Although I pretty much read The Collectors and will make the effort to get a copy of The Camel Club, the first book in the series, Stone Cold by David Baldacci was a bit of a letdown and required more of an effort to get back to. Baldacci has one too many balls in the air at the same time. He is somewhat aware of that himself as he conveniently has some secondary members of the Camel Club walk off stage left for quite a few chapters to conveniently get them out of the way as characters.
Another peeve with David Baldacci's Stone Cold is some turn of events are a little Hollywoodesque and require a solid dose of willing suspension of disbelief. Swallowing that dose pays off but I doubt this third Camel Club mystery will be the series' fans' favorite.
Other David Baldacci Reviews
The Collectors - A Camel Club mystery: Second The Camel Club mystery, The Collectors, is very good.
The Camel Club: The first Camel Club mystery, a series that should be read in order.
The Whole Truth: geopolitical thriller. Not his best.
Simple Genius - A Sean King / Michelle Maxwell Mystery: Convoluted plot with not much of a payoff. For real Baldacci fans only.
First Family - A Sean King / Michelle Maxwell mystery: Very good mystery novel with a very interesting baddie.
True Blue: Decent enough mystery but not decent enough for this writer.
Deliver Us From Evil: 2 agents have the same target in lesser thriller
Hell s Corner - A Camel Club Mystery: A good one even if the Camel Club are props more than anything else.
Zero Day: Good thriller introduces new character John Puller
The Innocent: Hitman and runaway teen have to figure out who is out to get them in excellent thriller.
The Forgotten: Second and more assured John Puller mystery