The latest opus from David Baldacci.
A good story, well written. Entertaining and engaging but….
Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes–obscure bible verses, odd symbols–have the police stumped.
Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex’s sister and her family. It’s a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene.
Then the next killing hits sickeningly close to home. And with the lives of people he cares about suddenly hanging in the balance, Decker begins to realize that the recent string of deaths may be only one small piece of a much larger scheme–with consequences that will reach far beyond Baronville.
Decker, with his singular talents, may be the only one who can crack this bizarre case. Only this time–when one mistake could cost him everything–Decker finds that his previously infallible memory may not be so trustworthy after all…
Could it be like having a second piece of chocolate cake? Worse, a third. And each is less tasty than the last because one is overdoing it. This may be the case with reading two or three Baldacci books, one after the other. Each one is less engaging than the previous.
Baldacci writes great dialogue. He develops attractive and interesting characters. But after a couple of previous Baldacci’s, the attention began to drift on this one. There were too many characters which resulted in confusion and disorder. A reader might be advised to use a scorecard to track who’s who and who’s doing what, something a reader should not have to do. Nor should they have to.
Again, Amos Decker, our memory man for those who are acquainted with the Baldacci character. He is the giant ex-football player who suffered a major injury on the gridiron. His concussion left him with a photographic memory, completely unable to forget anything. He remembers everything in complete detail, something which has great benefits but is all detrimental to a person who wants to forget how his wife and daughter were killed.
In The FALLEN, Decker experiences a fall which injures him so that he loses some of the total recall capability of his memory. He finds this is not at all something he wants for he has become reliant on his previously infallible memory. Now he must solve the case of this story with a flawed memory, in his view but a memory that the rest of us have. He now becomes more dependent on logic and analysis than on recall to get to the solution.
Like chocolate cake, there is no bad one. Same with Baldacci, some of his books are just better than others. Still, again like a slice of that dessert, in proper portions, Baldacci never fails.