The Collectors is a typical David Baldacci novel - complicated, quite implausible but still a good read.
The Collectors features the return of the Camel Club, the unofficial club made up of the 4 conspiracy theorists who we first met in The Camel Club. This time they smell a connection between the deaths of the United States Speaker and the director of the Library of Congress, which houses the rarest books in the US. Meanwhile, a woman is preparing to con the head of the biggest casino in Atlantic city. Expectedly, the two tracks converge pretty soon.
The Collectors has everything one expects from a Baldacci novel - high intrigue set in and around Washington D.C; a huge number of characters among whom even the most insignificant ones have a big part to play; and a complicated plot where only pieces of the puzzle are revealed on the way and the way they all fit together isn't clear until the very end. It is grand and overblown and quite some suspension of disbelief is necessary but as long as one doesn't question the plausibility of the happenings, it provides an entertaining read.
While CIA agent Alex Ford helped out the Camel Club in the previous novel, they get a new partner in the scam artist Annabelle Conroy this time around. And she is definitely the more interesting of the two. Her initial scams are quite clever and her talents are put to full use as she helps the foursome get in and out of some tight spots. The reactions of the four in her presence leads to some light humor along the way too. Her adversary is actually the scariest of the bunch and the way the book ends ensures that she'll be back. That's good!
The book is a long read but its impressive that Baldacci makes every one of those pages count. There is almost no fluff. He doesn't introduce any romance that could slow down the pace and even seemingly minor characters end up playing a big role by the time the book ends. As in his previous novels, he reveals only a little bit of the plot at a time but does it a lot less overtly than he did in The Camel Club. All these things together make sure that the book never slows down and that we keep turning the pages. There are only a few minor twists towards the end but they are satisfactory rather than sensational.