The Guilty (Will Robie #4)

Seven stars

In the latest novel in the Will Robie series, Baldacci takes an interesting approach with the cold-hearted assassin. After a mission goes awry, Robie begins to realise that he may have lost his edge. News that his father has been arrested and is awaiting trial for murder gives Robie the out he needs, sending him back to Cantrell, Mississippi. Robie has been away from his hometown for more than two decades, where some things have changed, but much remains just as stagnant as when he left. When Dan Robie refuses to see his son, Robie begins poking around to piece the accusations together. The elder Robie, a respected judge in the area, is suspected of killing a man who recently was exonerated of the murder of a local girl. Retribution fuels the motive, though Robie is sure there is more to the story. The deeper he digs, the more Robie wonders about people from his past, some of whom are still in the area, while others have left only vapours of their presence. Just as Robie peels back layers of the earlier murder, he discovers that there is an undertow that is pulling the entire community in a specific direction, but that crimes in the area have been covered-up and the whispers remain faint. When his partner, Jessica Reel, arrives to assist, Robie leads them into many dark corners to reveal truths that no one wishes aired, but which could be the only way to save Dan Robie from life in prison. With an explosive storyline and wonderfully gripping banter, Baldacci delivers a wonderful novel whose action builds as the chapters progress.

As with most of his work, Baldacci delivers another wonderful story. He pieces the plot together effectively and uses a number of interesting characters to flesh it out. Using dialogue peppered with local idiosyncrasies allows the reader to feel as though they are there in rural Mississippi alongside Will Robie, which adds to the realistic feel. With a handful of twists and curves central to the story, Baldacci keeps the reader wondering while also expecting something exciting with every chapter. Using Robie in a more investigative manner also plays out well, which gives him dimension and opens doors for future novels, should Baldacci wish to explore them. There is also much backstory delivered in this novel, as the reader is able to better understand how Robie got involved in a life as far away from Mississippi as possible, as well as the parallels his life followed when compared to his father. As is always the wonder with an author who has multiple series on the go, will Robie and some of the others join together, or create a successful crossover opportunity? Only time will tell, though nothing is out of the realm of possibility when David Baldacci is at the helm.

Kudos, Mr. Baldacci for another successful novel. I am eager to continue my appreciation of your work as I wade through my pile of books.