Absolute Power

by David Baldacci

Hardcover, 1996



Fiction. Mystery. Thriller. HTML:When burglar Luther Whitney breaks into a Virginia mansion, he witnesses a brutal crime involving the president �?? a man who believes he can get away with anything �?? and now, Luther may be the only one who can stop him in this #1 New York Times bestselling thriller. In a heavily guarded mansion in the Virginia countryside, professional burglar and break-in artist Luther Whitney is trapped behind a two-way mirror. What he witnesses destroys his faith not only in justice, but in all he holds dear. What follows is an unthinkable abuse of power and criminal conspiracy, as a breathtaking cover-up is set in motion by those appointed to work for one of the most important people in the world �?? the President of the Unite… (more)

Library's rating


½ (784 ratings; 3.8)

User reviews

LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
As popular thrillers go, this isn't badly written. Baldacci is a better writer judging from what I've read than a James Patterson or Dan Brown. Not high praise--just means he's not obviously eye-bleeding, but this is still reads as a generic pot-boiler. Nevertheless even Brown and Patterson have
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held me to the end of a couple of their books. Baldacci didn't here.

The thing is, I couldn't wrap my head around the basic premise. A cat burglar, Luther Whitney, is trapped in a vault with a one-way mirror when people unexpectedly arrive at a mansion he was robbing. Two people enter the bedroom--and one is the charismatic president of the United States, Alan J. Richmond. Whitney watches as the married president begins to have sex with a woman not his wife. Sex that turns into an assault that turns into an attack on the president that ends with his calling for help bringing in two Secret Service agents who shoot and kill the woman. Do they call the police in? No, both agents participate in a cover up.

And you know what? I don't buy it. Do I buy the Secret Service would kill to protect the life of the United States President. Sure. It's their job. Do I buy an American president could be involved in an extra-marital affair and the Secret Service stays silent? Sure. They're supposed to keep the president's private life private. Do I buy his Chief of Staff and other political hangers on might cover up anything including murder? Sure. Just look at recent history and headlines about American presidents and candidates and aspirants to the office such as President Richard Nixon, President Bill Clinton, Presidential candidate John Edwards and president wannabe and ex-governor Eliot Spitzer. But Secret Service agents aren't political hacks. They don't work for the man, they work for the office. They'll take a bullet for the president--they train to make it muscle memory. But would they risk covering up a killing? Not just one, but two on the scene? (And would they really not check out every single place a potential assassin could be hiding like that vault?) Well, a better writer might have sold me on it, but as a premise for what's otherwise routine potboiler? Well, two hours watching the movie with a Clint Eastwood is one thing. But I didn't want to devote over 12 hours to a book where the premise from the start just struck me as screwy and the writing was less than stellar.
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LibraryThing member jo-jo
I had no idea what to expect when listening to this book, but before I knew it I was caught up in the political suspense that was bound to entrap Jack Graham. I have a few friends that have read many Baldacci books and rave about them, so I decided to try the audioversion of this author. Maybe some
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of you that listen to audiobooks have found what I did-that I enjoy listening to genres that I don't usually enjoy reading. Suspense thrillers would be one of those genres that I don't enjoy reading but always find myself drawn to in the audio form.

A crime takes place in the beginning of this novel that involves the President, the Secret Service, and the Chief of Staff. As the story unfolds these people will do anything and stop anyone that would jeapordize the presidency. Since Luther Whitney somehow is the only witness to the unfortunate event he finds himself not sure who to confide in. His daughter Kate is an attorney for the Commonwealth, but since their relationship has been strained for so long he wouldn't know where to begin explaining what happened. Kate was engaged to a nice young man named Jack Graham who was also a lawyer. Luther found a respect for Jack that gave him the courage to leave a trail for Jack to learn about the President's actions.

Before Luther and Kate are dropped back into Jack's life, everything seems to be going perfect for him. He is engaged to Jennifer, who happens to be the daughter of one of the most powerful and wealthiest families in Washington. When Jack sees his future father-in-law rubbing elbows with the President of the United States he somehow knows deep down that he will never fit into the same social circle that Jennifer is a part of. When Jack starts to help Luther Whitney with his dilemma he finds himself drawn to the simple, but yet happy life that he led when he was with Kate.

We learn a lot about the many characters within this story. The Secret Service men involved in the crime both seem to be good men, but victims of political circumstances. Burton is the family man that has been married for over twenty years and has two kids at home. When he finds himself having to take control of the situation he doesn't know how he can ever face his family again. Collins is an agent who has put his life on the line before and will not hesitate to do it again. He somehow loses sight of his goals as he becomes entwined in a passionate affair.

There were so many unpredictable twists and turns in this audiobook that I really was unsure of how it could possibly end. If you are interested in listening to an action packed political thriller then this book would be a great choice for you! I've also just started paying attention to who is narrating audiobooks, and I have heard many bloggers mention Scott Brick as being a fabulous reader. Well you can add my name to that list of bloggers because while I was listening to this book I found his voice very engaging and WOW, does he build suspense! Please keep in mind that this rating is for the audioversion.
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LibraryThing member mikedraper
Luther Whitney is a thief with a conscience. He's robbing the home of a wealthy family in Washington, D.C. when the woman of the house returns. Luther hides in the closet and can see what is happening.

The woman is with her lover and the sex begins to get rough. The man cannot perform due to his
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intoxication and when the woman ridicules him, there is a struggle. She picks up a letter opener and as she approaches the man, two other men break into the room. When the Secret Service men see she's about to stab the President, they shoot and kill her.

They attempt to sanatize the room but overlook the letter opener which Luther noticed, the President had touched so has his prints on it. Luther takes this and escapes.

The Secret Service realize they don't have the letter opener and they rush back to the room to get it and see it's gone.

David Baldacci ratches up the mood as the Secret Service tries to cover their tracks and Luther attempts to set something in motion that will expose the President's hand in the murder and the political corruption.

We follow the hunted and await the death knell as the realistic characters collide in their attempt to hide, or for others, to unearth the truth.
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LibraryThing member sandra.k.heinzman
I started this 469 page book last night and finished it today. I think you know I must have liked it!!
LibraryThing member nyiper
Baldacci's books, along with John Grisham, are my legal fix books---his books just flow along. I love the audios---perfect when you're doing something boring that needs a good story. For once I determined ahead of time a solution that one of the main characters "discovered" later. I like the way
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you think there is no way to work through the multitude of problems that arise and yet Baldacci gets you there. I don't mind in the least a little too much coincidence---an excellent story! I have read or listened to most of his books and I'm not sure how I missed this---his first. I need him to pick up his writing speed---I need more of his books!!
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LibraryThing member jbarr5
Absolute Power by David Balducci
Book summary interested me and I rarely read this type of book but like to switch things up every now and then.
Luther has broken into houses and had served his time. Once he gets out he does it again a place where he was in before, with others.....
Interesting to
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learn of all the devices and technology for home security, but it's no barrier to Luther. he was there to get the diamond necklace but he found the mirror glass that looked into her bedroom.
Story also follows Jack, a lawyer and his fiance, Jennifer. Political groupies and the president is the one who takes care of the whores that run to him. Problem is this time things didn't go as planned. His body guards did come to his aide.
They weren't the only ones to see the scene or the actions as they happened....the president is a married man and the woman was married, but not to him.
Story follows those in charge as they try the case and the proceedings that happen...Luther has taken it upon himself to gather the evidence and given it to another who, after his death will mail the items to his lawyer.
A lot of people are put in harms way....lots of action and adventure.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).
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LibraryThing member edwardsgt
I had previously seen the Clint Eastwood movie of the same name some time ago but couldn't recall much of the plot except the opening (turned out the movie had cut one of the principal characters). This has all the usual Baldacci ingredients of a fast-paced plot which keeps you turning the page. It
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revolves around a corrupt President, Alan Richmond, who house-breaker Luther Whitney unwittingly catches en flagrante, during a robbery, albeit from one side of a secret one-way mirror. Things develop even worse and Whitney finds himself hunted down by Richmond's secret service minders and struggles to stay one step ahead. As usual most of the action takes place in and around Washington and Baldacci's eye for political detail, as far as I could tell, is as good as ever.
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LibraryThing member dbhutch
Another of those books where I am glad I read it before I saw the movie. Absolute Power follows the abuse of power of the Office of the President when it comes to cover-ups, and the lengths the Secret Service will go to in order to protect their charge. One mistake leads to another and another, and
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of course, a witness to murder is the biggest mistake of all. Staff members, agents, lawyers, and creative police work make this novel a page turner that is hard to put down. Having grown up and worked near DC for years,the detail in the novel made me feel as if I was right there for all of it.
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LibraryThing member kimmy0ne
a good read
LibraryThing member mausergem
A professional burglar is in the process of burgling a rich man's house when in walk the man's wife and the President of United States. What follows is a murder and a cat and mouse chase.

Thrillers like these will always keep you turning the pages. Pure and simple entertainment.
LibraryThing member jtck121166
Big ideas, credible and well drawn characters, a thrilling plot and over 500 pages for £0.74: what more can one ask?

I loved this part-thriller, part-police-procedural, part-court-room-drama (and all parts equally well done); this was my first Baldacci, and definitley won't be my last.

Five stars
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aren't enough!
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LibraryThing member csayban
David Baldacci is one of my favorite authors of thrillers and Absolute Power is certainly one of his very best. This story has a great concept, great storytelling and a fantastic ending. Honestly, I found the plot of the book better than the movie (even though the movie is great, too). If you
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don’t enjoy Absolute Power, then thrillers are probably not your cup of tea. They don’t get a lot better than this.
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LibraryThing member Randall.Hansen
Wanted to read an author born the same year as I was -- a book club assignment. I had seen the movie a million years ago, so I kind of remembered the basic plot... a president drunk on the powers of the office. Many abuses of power and many twists and turns that make the reader hang on and keep
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reading. A good cop procedural, with love and power and money in the mix. Writing is a bit clunky at times, but for a first effort, great storytelling and a very enjoyable read.
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LibraryThing member ponder
I could not make it past the halfway mark. I wanted to enjoy it but it never drew me in.
LibraryThing member spbooks
An enjoyable crime thriller. Moves along at a great pace with some some shocking twists and turns and a nice ending. Good one for holiday reading!
LibraryThing member rarelibri
I picked up this book when looking for a new author to read. Out of all of Mr. Baldacci books this is still one of my favorites. By now most people if they have not heard of the book are familiar with the movie of the same title played by Clint Eastwood as the main character. The story starts off
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with a suspenseful beginning with a thief who is inside the home of political powerhouse sees a murder while hidden in a closet safe with through a two way mirror.

The story unfolds as the thief who it turns out has a good heart if not a bad habit tries to bring to justice the individual who committed the murder. The subplots of the thief's life and the personal relationships that unfold hold together fairly well and become a story unto themselves and not just page filler. The turn of events that lead to the conclusion will leave you wanting more after the final page is turned.

The author has not in my opinion captured the suspense and excellent writing he developed in this story. If there is just one book from this author to read I would highly suggest this title.
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LibraryThing member dspoon
A riveting debut novel of murder, honor, loyalty, and betrayal that reaches all the way to the Oval Office. A vicious murder involving the president and his mistress results in a coverup orchestrated by the zealously loyal chief of security and the Secret Service. But, unbeknownst to the president
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and his lackeys, one unlikely witness saw everything. Will Americans learn the truth?
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LibraryThing member Twink
I've been a fan of David Baldacci's political thrillers for a while now, but realized I had never read Absolute Power - the one that started his string of bestsellers. (17!)

Luther Whitney is a master burglar. For the last twenty years, he's tried to keep his nose clean. But he pulls one last job
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for an old friend. He breaks in without incident, but is suddenly forced to hide when the owner and some others come home. He is stunned when the unthinkable happens - even more unbelievable is the perpetrator - the President of the United States.

Luther turns to lawyer Jack Graham - the ex boyfriend of his estranged daughter.

What a great premise for a story! And Baldacci does it masterfully. The plotting is tight and the action non stop. I enjoyed discovering Baldacci's 'beginning.' He has made the secret service/White House thriller genre his own.

But the reader in this case was fantastic. Scott Brick is an award winning audio book narrator. His voice is rich and resonant, conveying the suspense of this novel, keeping me on the edge of my chair. His voice conveys so much, from the malevolence of the bad guys to the uncertainty of a bewildered daughter.

There was a bonus short story included on the last disc (17!) of this set. I didn't realize that this book had been made into a movie starring Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman in 1997.
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LibraryThing member Livana
Great read.

Baldacci doesn't let the pace up in this crime novel about the President and Secret Services trying to cover up a murder.
LibraryThing member sandra.k.heinzman
I started this 469 page book last night and finished it today. I think you know I must have liked it!!
LibraryThing member PhillipThomas
A cracker of a book - a great plot and story line and well developed characters. The writing is solid and really enjoyable to read.
Highly recommended - and I'll be seeking out other books by this author.
LibraryThing member jguidry
I, like many others, saw the movie version before reading the book. I enjoyed the book more than the movie. I found it comical how the President shifted from a cowardly drunk to an arrogant, cold-hearted egotist. The action kept the book moving, for the most part, and I enjoyed the ending. My
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favorite part of the audiobook was David Baldacci's preface for this anniversary edition comparing pre-Clinton administration critiques to post-Clinton critiques. That was worth listening to all by itself.
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LibraryThing member christinejoseph
Could the Pres. be mixed up in a secret murder cover-up — good! All The ___ ___

A grizzled professional cat burglar gets trapped inside the bedroom closet of one of the world's richest men, only to witness, through a one-way mirror, two Secret Service agents kill the billionaire's trampy young
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wife as she tries to fight off the drunken sexual advances of the nation's chief executive. Running for his life, but not before he picks up a bloodstained letter opener that puts the president at the scene of the crime, the burglar becomes the target of a clandestine manhunt orchestrated by leading members of the executive branch.

Meanwhile, Jack Graham, once a public defender and now a high-powered corporate attorney, gets drawn into the case because the on-the-lam burglar just happens to be the father of his former financee, a crusading Virginia prosecutor.
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LibraryThing member mramos
Here we have a book where the President of the United States is the bad guy.....and the criminal is the man of honor. This book is a thriller with political intrigue and takes place mostly around the Metro D.C. area.

The book starts with an aging burglar, Luther, breaking into a billionaire's well
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protected mansion. He is suprised, but not caught by none other than the President of the good ol'USA. Who happens to be with the billionaire's young wife. Luther who is hidden in a safe with a two-way mirror, watches as the President starts to beat on the young woman. The woman in an act of self preservation, grabs a letter opener and stabs the President. The ensuing struggle and yell from the President, brings the very effective Secret Service Agents into the room. Where they shoot and kill her.

The scheming Chief of Staff hatches a quick course of action to start a cover up. But no one is aware of Luther who has watched the whole horrid affair. The story begins to pick up speed when Luther decides he has do what is right and set things straight.

You can tell this is Mr. Baldacci's first book. But worth the read. I read Total Control first, and find that book of a much higher quality. I think he will only improve with each book he writes. There were parts in this book where I just had to read one more section before I put it down.
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LibraryThing member TysonAdams
I've given up on this novel. After 6 hours of listening to this in the car I feel as though the plot hasn't really moved along at all. In fact, I feel as though all that has happened is the introduction of the characters and the premise of the plot.

In and of itself, the premise and setup are great.
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The various overlaps of characters will obviously have everyone circling one another. But this audiobook has broken my reading rules and not gotten going soon enough for my liking. Others may find it more rewarding, but I just found it to have too much exposition.
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Warner Books (1996), First Printing , 409 pages

Original publication date





044651996-0 / 9780446519960


Original language

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