Another winner from David Baldacci.

The Long Road to Mercy
by David Baldacci

#1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci introduces a remarkable new character: Atlee Pine, an FBI special agent assigned to the remote wilds of the western United States. Ever since her twin sister was abducted by a notorious serial killer at age five, Atlee has spent her life hunting down those who hurt others. And she’s the best at it. She could be one of the Bureau’s top criminal profilers, if she didn’t prefer catching criminals in the vast wilderness of the West to climbing the career ladder in the D.C. office. Her chosen mission is a lonesome one–but that suits her just fine.

Now, Atlee is called in to investigate the mutilated carcass of a mule found in the Grand Canyon–and hopefully, solve the disappearance of its rider. But this isn’t the only recent disappearance. In fact, it may be just the first clue, the key to unraveling a rash of other similar missing persons cases in the canyon. . . 

Richard’s review
Like any of Baldacci’s books, the story is engaging, the writing polised, and the dynamics of the read very appealing. One would be hard pressed to find a Baldacci book that fails in its readability, its entertainment and its engagement. The Long Road to Mercy delivers all of these features in spades.

The lead character, Atlee Pine, an FBI agent who is much like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, a loner with high values and principles in addition to being almost superhuman in physical capability and endurance. The latter things may be a stretch for credulity but not enough to take away from the readability of the story.

Catherine Blum, Pine’s middle aged office secretary is another appealing character in the story. Though she is not an FBI agent, not trained for physical conflict as Pine, she is astute and intelligent enough to be a counterpart or partner to Pine in this story. She could eventually become a partner in future Pine tales and justifiably so as her role in this story is entertaining and engaging.

Again, Baldacci delivers on all counts: factual detail, descriptive prose, credible dialogue and ongoing suspense. The plot is a stretch in that a foreign power has planted a nuclear bomb in the Grand Canyon with the intend of overthrow of the American government. Far fetched as it may sound, the story around the plot will hold the reader’s attention page after page.

I suspect Baldacci has a stable of writers as did Tom Clancy, a stable who develop plots, story lines and book themes which become proposals for book ideas, leaving it to Baldacci to color inside the lines. As cynical as that may sound, the process works because of Baldacci’s superb capability as a writer. He writes with polish, professionalism and detail that is always engaging and believable.

A good read where the reader will continuously cheer for the hero of the story

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