The Camel Club
David Baldacci
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Buy *The Camel Club* in unabridged CD audio book format online

The Camel Club
David Baldacci
read by Jonathan Davis
Warner Adult
13 audio CDs, 16 hours
October 2005
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Whenever you have enjoyed a piece of work in one medium and then listen, watch, or read it in another, you are already aware of the peaks and valleys of the story. For instance, when you read a book before seeing its movie, you know the outcome and so are watching with different expectations than someone who has not previously encountered the story. Conversely, if you have seen the movie -- a completely different animal from books – you hope that the characters will have more depth or that you will find some hidden gems totally left out of the movie to tickle your fancy.

Having read The Camel Club book before listening to the audio version, my view on the story was already colored. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just means that my opinion would now be based upon the production living up to how the book played out in my head (the best special effects are still in your imagination). For the most part, The Camel Club audio book version does a fine job. Effective music introduces each CD, and narrator Jonathon Davis does a well with the dialects and accents. From my book review:

In the latest thriller by bestselling author David Baldacci (The Winner, Absolute Power, Last Man Standing, The Simple Truth, Total Control) you have a heady mix of today’s political scene and conspiracy theories - and conspiracy theorists. The prologue is one of the hottest, barnburning, white-knuckle openings to a book I’ve read in a long while. Adnan, a Saudi Arabian, is driving in Virginia countryside with Iranian Muhammad al-Zawahiri and Afghani Gul Khan in the backseat. They spot a helicopter overhead and begin to panic.
“If you are to die while we escape, then give me your gun,” Adnan said bitterly. “You will have no need for it.” The Iranian pulled out his pistol and tossed it to Adnan. The Burly Khan turned toward the chopper and smiled “How about this plan, Adnan?” he said over his shoulder. “Firing into their tail prop before they can land worked very well against the Americans in my country their spines snap like twigs when they hit the ground.” The Bullet hit him in the back of the neck, ironically snapping Khan’s own spine like a twig, and the big Afghani fell dead. Adnan swiveled his pistol away from his first victim and pointed it at Muhammad, who, seeing this traitorous attack, had started to run. He was not fleet of foot, however, and the cowboy boots he favored were not built for running. Adnan caught up with him when Muhammad fell over a rotting tree trunk.”
There is more to surprise in this prologue, and you can quench your thirst for the twist when you get the book. But once we dive into the first chapter, we start meeting the multitude of characters: Alex Ford, a forty-two-year-old CIA agent; the ragtag crew of sixty-one-year-old conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone (could there be a better-named character for a conspiracy-theorist character?), named The Camel Club; Reuben, Milton Farb, and Caleb Shaw, all highly intelligent and with Vietnam-era gripes with the government; and the President and his underling, Carter Gray.
Clocking in at sixteen hours listening time, The Camel Club unabridged audio version might be long; it’s just not one of those audio books that can be consumed in one sitting unless you literally have a whole day to commit to it. With all its flaws, the story still stands up. Its bouncing-around structure is a minor nuisance as it remains an overall enjoyable listening experience. Different from the experience of reading the book, The Camel Club is still a top-notch audio production that will please Baldacci fans.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Bobby Blades, 2006

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