One Good Deed, by David Baldacci

Eight stars

In his latest standalone thriller, David Baldacci captivates readers while taking them on a voyage back in time. It’s 1949 and the War is over, as is the short time Aloysius Archer has spent in prison. Heading west, Archer settles in Poca City to serve out his parole. Seeking employment, Archer is approached by Hank Pittleman to help him retrieve a debt. Archer seems happy to help, as long as his parole officer considers this above board. However, as Archer soon discovers, the debtor is anything but happy to repay what is owed and spins a tale of a lost daughter he wishes to protect. Working his verbal magic, Archer feels he might be making headway, until a murder shakes him to his core. The authorities are happy to look at the ex-con for the crime and the evidence points in Archer’s direction. Trying to clear his name and work with the locals to solve the case, Archer uncovers some interesting secrets that sees the investigation widen. Armed with this news and trying to stay one step ahead of the noose, Archer will do whatever it takes, using the sleuthing he heard in his favourite mystery novels while incarcerated. A wonderful novel that has the potential to begin a new series. Baldacci has done it again and I can recommend this to those who love his work, as well as the reader who finds joy in crime thrillers.

I always enjoy new ventures by established authors, as it pushes them out of their comfort zone while allowing readers to see just how vast their abilities tend to be. David Baldacci has done this many times over the years, taking a standalone and, upon rave reviews, builds it into a new series, letting some of his past collections fade into the background. This novel surely has the potential for that, as it is not only well founded, but its characters are interesting and the narrative flows with ease. Aloysius Archer proves to be a wonderful protagonist, seeking to reinvent himself after fighting in Europe and doing a stint in jail. This backstory alone draws the reader to him, but there is more. As he arrives in town—almost Reacher-esque—knowing no one in particular, Archer soon connects with some of the locals and finds himself in the middle of a feud. His skills as an investigator are second to none and this is utilised effectively throughout, allowing Archer to grow and become even better liked by the reader. Supported by a handful of other strong characters, Archer finds himself trying to stay one step ahead of the law without disappearing entirely. The secondary characters are strong and serve to keep the story moving, though their interactions with Archer cannot be dismissed. There is some strong potential, should Baldacci continue the series, though it is apparent that certain storylines will dominate any future plots. Well written with a perfect mix to keep the reader engaged, Baldacci may have a major success on his hands, should he move in that direction.

Kudos, Mr. Baldacci, for another great novel. I cannot wait to see what you have in store for readers down the road.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: