The Target by David Baldacci

The Target by David Baldacci

The mission is to enter one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

The target is one of the toughest to reach.

The result could be momentous – or it could be Armageddon.

There is no margin for error. US government operatives Will Robie and Jessica Reel have to prove they are still the best team there is. But are they invincible when pitted against an agent whose training has been under conditions where most would perish?

An old man is dying in an Alabama prison hospital, it seems there is one more evil game he has still to play.

And it’s a game which comes close to home for Reel and Robie. But this time the stakes might be way too high.

Although my first David Baldacci novel I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from the outset, it is a thriller after all, and after reading it one thing I can guarantee is that it certainly won’t be my last. A seasoned veteran of the thriller genre, Baldacci knows how to put together an exciting and entertaining story all the while keeping the reader involved from start to finish. The Target represents Will Robie’s third adventure, accompanied by Jessica Reel, but for me this book is more about the development of Chung-Cha, her journey and the ruthless North Korean government and brutal labour camps.

There were a few instances where the story stretched credibility but this is what you get with adventure and thriller stories but what Baldacci does do well is morph the three main story arcs together seamlessly. Like most thrillers you find yourself scratching your head at times wondering what the author has in mind and where he’s going with it all but a third of the way through things start to become a little clearer.

Robie is a great character, as is Reel, and he certainly carries a fair chunk of this book but as I’ve alluded to earlier I couldn’t get Chung-Cha out of my head. A young girl held prisoner in one of North Korea’s labour camps, alongside her family, she is offered a way out by the ruling government. She has to make a devastating – and destructive – decision that will affect the way she lives her life.

From that moment on her life changes rapidly. Although a free woman and living in her own apartment far away from the confines of the labour camp she remains a prisoner of a brutal and tyrannical regime. There is no escaping the hold the Government has over its citizens and although a favourite weapon of the ruler she lives in fear hour by hour. Slowly but surely, with the aid of a young girl companionship, we see a softness creeping in, a softness that struggles against a harsh history of depravation and torture. She becomes a little more engaging and colourful and despite her job you can’t help but feel something for her plight.

It’s all about the journey. I really don’t like using that word, but you can’t escape the fact that this is what it is. The Target is so much more than a little action, a few flying bullets and a couple of protagonists trying to make it through to the end of a book. There is depth here and although I hadn’t expected to, I really enjoyed the North Korean angle more than anything else. That said I definitely wouldn’t want to live there!

An entertaining read this won’t be my last Will Robie adventure.

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (24 April 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1447225295
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447225294
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