Tom Langdon has plans to spend Christmas in Lake Tahoe with his girlfriend, but first he has to get from Washington, DC to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the reporter has been banned from flying after an air rage incident, so he decides to take a train from coast to coast and write about holiday rail travel. During his ride, he encounters all sorts of interesting characters from a bartender who looks like Elvis to a retired priest to a young couple about to wed aboard the train. He also runs into his former girlfriend, Eleanor, who he hasn't seen since she walked out on him many years ago.
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci is written in two sections: Tom has to take two trains to get to LA, so each section of the book covers a different train ride. Many of the characters continue on the trip from one train to the next with Tom, so their stories continue as well. I have to say I liked the second half of the book much better than the first. The first half seemed to be devoted to introducing all the different characters and talking about rail travel. It was very slow and not very exciting at all. Perhaps someone who has a strong interest in trains would find this section more interesting than I did.
The second half of the book was more appealing to me, with a lot more action. But overall, the book wasn't one of my favorites. It also wasn't much of a Christmas story. It did take place around Christmas, but the focus of the book was on the love story. And it wasn't a love story that gripped me or made me feel strongly about Tom, Eleanor or any of the others involved.
My Rating: 3/5
This review was written based on a copy of The Christmas Train that I borrowed from the library.