Baldacci may not be a literary stylist, but he really knows how to spin a yarn, and with McLarty he gets a narrator who adds emotional depth to his characters without slowing down the breathless pace of his prose. McLarty uses his distinctive, almost avuncular delivery to excellent purpose in this action-packed thriller that finds the Camel Club members attacked by three tough customers seeking revenge. Washington power broker Carter Gray blames them for the loss of his White House job. Thuggish casino operator Jerry Bagger wants con woman extraordinaire Annabelle Conroy and his stolen $40 million. And an old Cold War wrong has placed former U.S. government assassin and club founder Oliver Stone in the path of world-class hit man Harry Finn. Middle-aged baritones offer no great challenge to McLarty's talent, yet his subtle shifts are admirable, from the thoughtful, slightly rough-edged Stone to the rougher-edged Bagger to Gray's sneeringly perfect locution. But his art becomes more apparent as he effectively captures the voices of Annabelle, Finn and a gallery of other characters, including a bitter elderly Russian woman and a world-weary Irish-American man, providing them all a dimension not always on the page. Simultaneous release with the Grand Central hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 22).