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Friday, June 27, 2014

THE CAMEL CLUB (audiobook) (abridged) by David Baldacci

Published by Time Warner AudioBooks in 2005.
Read by James Naughton
Duration: 5 hours, 39 minutes

Four outcasts form The Camel Club, a team that keeps an eye on the government so that it can discover the "truth". The club is led by Oliver Stone - not the director but a former CIA assassin who has taken the movie director's name. Stone literally stakes out the White House and watches who comes and goes. Reuben Rhodes is a former soldier and DIA member who works in a warehouse. Caleb Shaw works for the Library of Congress and often dresses like he was in the 19th century. The last member is Milton Farb, a computer genius with obsessive compulsive disorder.

The White House
These four witness a murder of a government agent on Theodore Roosevelt Island, D.C. area national park. When it looks like the murder is going to be treated as a suicide, the club swings into action with the support of a friendly Secret Service agent and discovers a conspiracy that was even larger than they could have imagined that extends all of the way into the White House itself.

I listened to this book as an abridged audiobook. The unabridged audiobook (read by a different reader) lasted 16 hours and 10 minutes. My abridged version, read by two-time Tony Award-winning actor James Naughton lasted a mere 5 hours and 39 minutes, making it almost exactly one-third the length of the unabridged version. Taking into account that different readers can read at different paces, this abridged version is still missing about two-thirds of the book - and it shows.

The abridged version introduces characters with little or no explanation (the Reuben Rhodes character gets the short shrift, for sure) and the plot sometimes jumps forward in a herky-jerky fashion. At first, I thought it was because the book was poorly written but then I finally realized that it was abridged after I read the fine print on the back of the box (it is not disclosed anywhere else). Naughton did a solid job as the reader, but I cannot recommend his abridged version. I have not listened to the unabridged version, but it has to be better than the abridged version. 

I rate this abridged audiobook 2 stars out of 5.
Reviewed on June 27, 2014.

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