Thursday, December 5, 2013

Baker's Dozen by M. Will Smith

On a moonlight night as the aging boat slipped out of it mooring into the open sea, there was no way of knowing that this was the departure from a series of murders carried out in retribution. Sometimes the end is after all really only the beginning.
In Baker’s Dozen by M. Will Smith, a 70+ year old Rose is incensed when she comes across her brother, Judd Baker’s, involvement in a group that has been promoting and instigating political assassinations for decades. When the argument becomes more violent Judd is fatally injured when he falls, impaling himself on the fireplace tools. Rose is so angry that she is more relieved than concerned. Looking back on the horror and deaths that he and his group were responsible for, she realizes that there is nothing or no one that can touch them. They were only the purveyors, the instigators; they had no connection with the deaths and could not be held responsible. It is during this moment of anger and disbelief that she forms a plan. She will hold them responsible. She will make them pay. As she sets her plans in motion, she realizes she only has a small window before they become aware of being stalked, or she is caught.
From the beginning she seems to have a great deal of luck. She comes upon a man with the ability to get her a gun with a silencer. She is able to get close to the individuals in a way no one else can. She gets a car when she needs one, someone to show her the way when she is lost. While helpful, it also makes her very wary. Is it possible she is being set up? Can she finish the task she has given herself?
Smith has put together a cannily clever story. You are hooked from the beginning as Rose makes her decision. She is so fragile and yet so brave. Stoic and with only vague plans, she seems to have the charm and tact to make it through to the end. It is difficult to not like her and her zany plans, as well the travels and travails she encounters. There is also something quite vicious about her belief in the rightness of her actions. She is no shrinking violet, and she pushes herself very hard. You will find yourself admiring many of the characters she comes into contact with. Rose herself is gregarious and tenacious.  
If you enjoy a good political thriller, a bit of history and just an overall good fun read, you will enjoy this work. Smith has given us an unlikely hero.  
Rose Baker is both shocked and infuriated to find that her brother Judd has been the ringleader of a conspiracy to promote political assassinations over the years. These assassinations were of Rose’s political idols. In the violent argument that ensues, Judd falls and is fatally injured.
Certain that his dozen co-conspirators will never face the justice they deserve, she hatches a plan to make sure that they do. Traveling the four corners of the country, she takes them out, one by one. Always a step ahead of the conspirators and the authorities, who never suspect a seventy year old well-dressed woman to be involved in such acts, they have no idea who to look for.Along the way, Rose begins to suspect that the conspiracy is much deeper than the thirteen men, so decides to pursue it to wherever it leads. FBI detectives Chuck and Cathy, who picked up on the murderous rampage midway through Rose’s march across the country, are slow to put the pieces together but finally catch up with her near the end.
Baker’s Dozen is about political hatred and retribution in the extreme, and how idealistic beliefs can permanently distort one’s perspective regardless of which side is involved.

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