Setting: West Virginia, USA. [There’s a lot of evil, criminal activity in the USA, you know…]
Story: John Puller, special US Army investigator, is asked to deal with a case involving the murder of a family, including a father serving in the military with intelligence links. Shortly after arriving on the scene, the body count goes up, and Puller – working mainly with local detective Samantha Cole – is in a race against time to stop a terrorist atrocity, and a blow against the USA.
Good Stuff: The action races along in true page turner style. Puller is an interesting character, though there are shades of a superman about his achievements. The author does a good job of setting out the competing Federal and military interests, and deals well with the inter agency fighting and political moves. There’s a sense of danger, and the twists are finely tuned and nicely timed. The violence is shocking, but justified by the storyline, and although there’s a huge suspension of disbelief required, Baldacci just about pulls it off. Solid entertainment.
Not So Good Stuff: If you stand back from the action and examine the plot (of the baddies) that lies behind all of this, you might find it difficult to believe that anyone would go to the lengths set out in this book to achieve their goals. The word ‘overreaction’ springs to mind. If I had been the baddie, I would have ignored the forces of law and order, and just got on with my dastardly deed. So that part does not quite hang together. Also, as hinted above, there’s a bit too much of the super hero in our man Puller. However, maybe that is carping. On the whole, the not so good stuff was limited in that Baldacci’s total package is an enjoyable romp. I wouldn’t take it seriously, but it was fun.