Absolute Power by David Baldacci

absolute1Reviewed by Allen Hott

The first of Mr. Baldacci’s many highly rated novels and what a beginning it was. Most of his work has centered around Washington D.C. and the people who live and work there. Absolute Power put together a somewhat scary look at what power the President has and how it could be used for evil as well as good.

The story begins with an experienced thief who has spent time in prison but has been extremely careful in pulling off burglaries since his release. He is witness to one of the strangest sights that he has ever seen. His target this time is a mansion in one of the Capitol’s prestigious areas. He has done his job well, made his entry unnoticed and is inside of a walk in vault that is hidden behind a mirror on the wall. The mirror however is a special one-way arrangement, which allows a person in the vault to see into the bedroom.

Before he can perform his robbery and leave several occupants enter the room He becomes the audience for not only a sexual tryst but also a altercation that before it is finished becomes deadly. And those who are involved include the President of the United States and some of his staff.

The staff clears away most of the evidence and head out with the President completely unaware that they were being watched. However several of them have occasion to return to the room where they discover that there was an intruder. They can quickly figure out that what all he saw and what piece of evidence he took with him will cause them many problems.

The intruder manages to get away but he also leaves behind some evidence of his having been there. He realizes his problem and not only quickly hides away but he also devises a scheme to expose the entire problem.

Needless to say with Absolute Power the President is able to employ his Secret Service agents to begin tracking down the intruder. And therein lies the problem for Jack Graham who is the ex-boyfriend of the intruder’s estranged daughter.

Several subplots now come into play as Graham, an attorney, has moved from working as a Public Defender to being an attorney in a very large and prestigious D.C. law firm. He attained that position because of his present girlfriend/fiancée’s father’s business.

The well-written story brings all of these items into the mix and makes the novel a really interesting read. Killings, chases, and various other types of excitement help Baldacci perfect another very interesting book (which was, by the way turned into a movie starring Clint Eastwood several years back).

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