An Original Will Robie / Camel Club Short Story


By David Baldacci

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In this all-new short story from #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci, worlds collide when government assassin Will Robie is caught in the crossfire with Oliver Stone and the Camel Club.

Will Robie is closing in on his next target when he finds himself in the middle of a bank heist–and he’s taken hostage alongside Oliver Stone. But is this just a simple bank job, or are the robbers after something even more valuable–and dangerous–than the cash in the vault?

Available only as an ebook.



It was five minutes to noon on a Saturday.

The streets of Georgetown were filled with shoppers. The sun overhead was warming and the breeze brisk and refreshing. The waters of the nearby Potomac had some light froth from the wind. Many boaters were out enjoying the weather.

It was all in all a delightful day to be alive.

Yet there were a few people clustered in the vicinity who were not thinking about the pleasant weather or fun things to do. They had other things on their minds.

Oliver Stone walked down the crowded sidewalk. In his pocket was his paycheck from the Mt. Zion Cemetery where he was the caretaker. His destination was a bank in the luxury mall located on M Street. He would just be able to deposit the check before the bank closed. He did not make much money and had to take care with what he did earn. Yet his needs were few, and his salary also included a cottage in which to live. And he liked being around the dead. They were a quiet bunch. He’d had enough excitement to last him the rest of his life.

Behind him walked another man, partially hidden by a group of giddy teenage girls overburdened with shopping bags filled with purchases from upscale stores. Texts were flying from their collective phones—youthful gossip was now delivered almost exclusively electronically. Indeed, one girl was energetically texting the friend walking beside her, as though actually turning and speaking to her would be somehow uncool or an unimaginable burden.

As he walked along, Will Robie looked up and watched the seagulls drift across the clear sky. It was a beautiful day to do many things, but dying was not one of them. It was never a good day to die, he thought. Yet oftentimes one didn’t have a choice on the actual timing. Sometimes your death was caused by someone else’s agenda.

Robie had nearly been killed by such agendas several times, quite recently in fact. He couldn’t say that he cared for it.

He looked at Oliver Stone, who was about fifteen feet ahead of him. The man had close-cropped white hair. He was lean and wiry and about six-two, nearly two inches taller than Robie. It was a sad testament to the state of general health in America when a lean older man made one immediately think he was suffering from a serious illness. Robie knew who Oliver Stone was, and he also knew that he was not someone to take lightly. And despite his not exactly being a spring chicken, Robie knew the man could hold his own against just about anyone or anything.

Stone turned into the mall entrance. Robie broke off from the giddy girls and turned in there as well, about ten paces back now. Stone hurried up the steps and onto the main level of the multistory mall that had a clear glass elevator leading to the upper floors. Stone didn’t bother with the elevator. He just walked briskly up the steps to the next level, turned left, and continued on.

Robie mimicked these movements, rotating his line of sight to take in what he needed to. The mall was crowded but the section where Stone was headed was not. The bank was down here, as were some other businesses that were either not open on Saturday or were, like the bank, about to close.

Next to the bank entrance was a long corridor leading to a service area and restrooms. This was the cheaper section of the mall and none of the popular stores were located here. But banks were notoriously frugal on everything except executive pay, and thus it was the perfect location for one. That was why banks had all the money. They didn’t spend any more than they absolutely had to.

Stone passed the service corridor and walked through the large opening into the bank. He nodded at the security guard posted near the entrance. The guard was older, with white hair and a paunch that stretched his rental cop shirt to its fullest extent. The guard checked his watch.

Stone smiled. “Don’t worry, I’ve got two minutes, Charlie.”

“You know you can use the ATM outside to deposit your funds, Oliver.”

“I like dealing with real people. If the machine chews up my check, where’s the proof?”

Charlie smiled. “I bet you don’t have an online account either.”

“I’ve heard of the Internet. I’ve just never used it.”

“I only do because of the grandkids. Never in all my life thought I’d be on something called Facebook. Or Google. Have a good weekend.”

“You too.”

Charlie put his security key into the lock and turned it to the left. A solid wall with the bank’s name and logo on it came partially down over the bank entrance. Charlie turned the key back to its original position and the wall stopped descending. He would wait patiently for the customers to finish their business and then he would close up shop fully. He was itching to get home to watch Virginia Tech play Alabama. Kickoff was at one.

Stone went up to stand in line for the next available teller. There were four customers ahead of him and three tellers behind the polycarbonate shield, which would stop most bullets. He looked to his right and saw a youngish dark-haired man in an ill-fitting suit sitting in a small glass-enclosed cubicle. The nameplate on the glass said this was the bank manager. To Stone the man looked like he was half asleep.

While two of the tellers serviced customers the third was counting cash. To the left of the tellers’ enclosure, but outside the bulletproof glass area, was the vault, its thick steel door standing open.

Stone did not turn around when Will Robie entered the bank, ducking under the partially lowered door at one minute to noon. He didn’t have to. As he waited in line, he watched Robie in a security mirror bolted to the corner of the ceiling. Stone had never seen Robie before today, but his experienced eyes told him that the man was not here to fulfill a banking transaction. Stone had seen Robie behind him on the street. And so he wondered why he was here.

Is it me? thought Stone. And if so, how should I handle it?

Charlie frowned at Robie’s popping in at the last minute. He had evidently been hoping that no more customers would show up. The college football game was calling his name. He desperately wanted to see the Hokies knock off the heavily favored Crimson Tide.

Robie did not go to stand in line. He went over to the information table and started looking through some form documents kept there in small cubbies.

Fifty-eight seconds later the clock on the wall clicked to noon.

Charlie turned to tell another group of people attempting to enter the bank that it was closed. There would be no more customers today.

A moment later Charlie tasted his own blood, arterial spray that reached his mouth. He was already dead, but didn’t know it.

His attacker held the older man up while he expired. His colleague turned the key in the lock all the way to the left and the wall rapidly descended. In a few seconds what was going on inside the bank was sealed off from the rest of the mall.

Robie had turned at the moment the knife blade severed Charlie’s neck arteries. He would have pulled his weapon but there were two guns pointed at him.

There were four people in total standing at the entrance. They were dressed in blue jumpsuits with hoodies. They slipped their hoodies off and revealed black ski masks underneath covering their faces.

One of them pushed a rolling laundry cart that had a sheet over it. Robie noted the gunmen had heavy weaponry—both machine pistols and subguns. It was a lot of firepower for a bank branch robbery.

One teller saw Charlie drop dead to the floor when his killer let him go, and screamed. Everyone else turned. Everyone else except Stone. He was watching all of this in the surveillance mirror. His gaze methodically panned over each of the gunmen, taking in as much information as he could. It was certainly true that the situation was bad, but that didn’t necessarily mean it was impossible to rectify.

The customers and tellers froze when the guns were pointed at them. One gunman held his finger to his lips and walked forward into the bank lobby.

His name was Adam Chase, he was the leader of this group, and he had very little time to accomplish something exceedingly momentous.

“Listen up, everyone. I’m a simple man and the rules are straightforward. You do what we say, you get to go home. You don’t, then Sunday does not come for you.”

He pointed at dead Charlie.

“That does.”


Chase pointed at the tellers behind the glass.

“First, you keep your hands in plain view. If you hit any alarm button, silent or otherwise, everyone out here is dead.”

The two women and the man looked at each other and slowly lifted their hands.

“Good, now, the three of you come out here and join us.”

They didn’t move.

A second gunman strode forward and put his pistol against Stone’s head. “Now, or the geezer gets his brains blown out,” he said.

One of the female tellers unlocked the door and the three of them filed out.

“Thank you,” said Chase politely. He stepped inside the tellers’ cage and examined the set of alarm switches hidden under the counter. None of them had been activated. He looked at the tellers. “Very smart of you.”

The second gunman slapped Stone on the side of the head. “Congratulations, Grandpa, you get to live.”

He was a grandfather,” replied Stone, glancing over at dead Charlie. “I’m not.”

“Then this is your lucky day,” said the man, slapping Stone’s head again.

Stone’s jaw tightened ever so slightly when the man struck him a second time. Robie noticed this. And he knew Stone would kill the man given the chance.

“Okay,” said Chase. “Everybody line up against that wall.” He pointed to his right.

Everyone did as he said and they were methodically searched. Out came all phones, electronic tablets, and other communication devices. They were collected in a basket. When Robie’s gun was found, Chase held it in his gloved hand.

“Why do you have this? You a cop? A Fed?” He nodded to one of his men, who searched Robie for a badge or creds but found none. He did hold up Robie’s gun permit.

“Just a law-abiding citizen,” said Robie.

Chase glanced at the permit and then wheeled around and clocked Robie in the jaw, nearly dropping him to the floor.

“I don’t like law-abiding citizens. Now get back in line,” said Chase, shoving Robie away. “You give me trouble I will shoot you with your own weapon.”

Robie staggered over and stood next to Stone, rubbing his jaw.

One of the gunmen produced zip ties. Each hostage’s hand was bound to another hostage’s. By virtue of their proximity, Robie and Stone ended up cuffed together.


  • "Robie is an assassin with ethics, and the nonstop action and twists help move the story along."—Associated Press on The Hit

  • "The Innocent is another Grade A suspense novel from Baldacci...This is Baldacci's first story involving Robie, and let's hope it's not the last."—Las Vegas Review Journal on The Innocent

  • "The latest Camel Club novel is, as usual, skillfully constructed and very difficult to put down. Baldacci keeps peeling back layers of Stone's psyche, revealing him to be a man full of unresolved conflicts and a potentially self-destructive amount of guilt over his past actions. Another winner."—Booklist on Hell's Corner

  • "Baldacci fans will welcome this latest tale about the charismatic Stone and his exceedingly loyal friends with its fast-paced action and intriguing plot twists."—Library Journal on Divine Justice

On Sale
Feb 4, 2014
Page Count
60 pages

David Baldacci

About the Author

David Baldacci is a global #1 bestselling author, and one of the world’s favorite storytellers. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with 150 million copies sold worldwide. His works have been adapted for both feature film and television. David Baldacci is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America. Still a resident of his native Virginia, he invites you to visit him at DavidBaldacci.com and his foundation at WishYouWellFoundation.org.

Learn more about this author