Last Man StandingThis morning I drove three young adventurers down to the deepest Ardennes, where they had to (hopefully) navigate their way across some interesting terrain as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. On the way there and back I ‘read’ an audio book that a friend had long ago given me. Last Man Standing, by David Baldacci, should really have been entitled Last Chapters Written Very Quickly, as I got the distinct sense that the author had a publisher’s deadline to meet. It was nevertheless an amusing and intriguing romp in which one member of a super elite Hostage Rescue Team, Web London, inexplicably survives an ambush in a raid on a drugs operation gone horribly wrong. His survival raises suspicions, but it also frustrates those who wanted everyone dead, and so London ends up being pursued by just about everybody. At the same time, he is determined to get to the bottom of matters, including through psychological analysis. The characters tend to be one-dimensional and workmanlike, doing their bit in the plot and then rapidly disappearing, but the underlying motives of his protagonists are well wrought. Paranoia is, in the hands of crime novelists, a wonderful tool when handled well. In the end, you don’t know who or what to believe. Friends might be enemies, enemies might be friends. You just don’t know. And where do conspiracies stop and madness begin? Oh dear oh dear. This book was perfect for a long drive and the latest news is that the adventurers are still standing.