Walk the Wire (Amos Decker #6), by David Baldacci

Eight stars

David Baldacci is back with another of his powerhouse Amos Decker novels, which never ceases to impress. Decker and his team are sent to the small community of London, North Dakota to investigate the murder of a woman. Her skull has been hacked open and her brain removed, as well as the evisceration of her stomach. Decker cannot make much sense of it, but soon learns that the victim was the teacher on a religious colony just outside of town. When not teaching the minds of tomorrow, she was entertaining the men of the community with her sexual prowess, which is another angle that Decker feels might play a part in her death. London is not the bucolic town it might seem, as a military installation appears to be quite busy on the outskirts, something that Decker learns is related to satellite monitoring. However, something seems off and so the investigation turns in that direction, as odd vehicles appear and planes are in the vicinity at odd hours. While Decker pushes forward, there are some who seem to take offence to this and he lands in a spot of trouble. Just when things get at their most tense, a mysterious figure shows up to cast some light on the situation and save Decker’s hide. More bodies turn up, some mysterious suicides and others outright murders. It would seem there is more to this small town than meets the eye, something some within the US Army want to keep secret. While Decker wants to find the killer, there are bigger fish to fry. Why, then, would someone like Will Robie be here and how will that impact the case? A great piece with some strong cross-over elements to one of Baldacci’s other series. Recommended to fans of his work, as well as the reader who needs a little thrill put back into their day!

I love a story that pulls me in from the opening pages and does not let up. Baldacci does that here from the outset, with his strong mix of characters. That the story was set in North Dakota only added to things for me, as I grew up a few hours away, over the Canadian border. As always, Amos Decker is a wonderful protagonist and his way of thinking keeps me on my toes throughout. His thought process and somewhat rational way of coming to some conclusions makes the story all the better, keeping the reader wanting more. There was definitely a softer side that emerged in this piece, as Decker connects with siblings from his past. Might there be a turn towards the more amenable side of this rock-hard man? The others who emerge in this piece help to complement Decker’s work, as well as keep the action moving. Will Robie’s cross-over appearance here left me wondering if Baldacci wanted to bring one of his past protagonists back, seeing as there have been some new projects taking precedence. Decker and Robie work well together and the race to the answer is found with their teaming up. The story was strong, as usual, and the plot kept evolving throughout, with twists that Baldacci explains to those who pay attention. I am happy to see some cross-over work and would be keen to see if Baldacci tries it again, as it seemed seamless to me. Now to wait for the next book, which is always the hardest part.

Kudos, Mr. Baldacci, for another great Amos Decker instalment. I love how creative you can be, given the opportunity.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Redemption (Amos Decker #5), by David Baldacci

Eight stars

In another thrilling novel, David Baldacci places Amos Decker in the middle of a case that will require all his attention. While visiting his daughter’s grave, Amos Decker is approached by a man he put away for murder over a decade ago. Released for compassionate reasons, the man professes that his conviction was wrong and that Decker needs to reevaluate the work he did when serving with the local police department. Now, armed with a task and reunited with his former partner, Decker is trying to piece together the narrative from the murder. When the original accused is murdered himself, Decker can only surmise that someone is trying to silence an attempt to find justice. The further he digs, the more Decker uncovers, though some of it is surely as painful for him as it is for the families of the victims and the accused. When others die, Decker refuses to let that deter him and forges ahead at full speed. The town of Burlington, Ohio may have changed after all these years, but there are still secrets that linger, including one that could destroy its bucolic nature. Can Decker save all that he holds dear without allowing his past to fade into oblivion? Another wonderful novel by Baldacci, who has been keeping the Decker series fresh and insightful for fans. Recommended for those who love a good mystery and have followed the series from its inception.

I have long been a fan of David Baldacci and his work, having seen him through many series over a number of years. I became curious about Amos Decker from the start, as the premise caught my attention from the outset. With a well-established backstory, Amos Decker would appear to have little to offer the reader, though his past is always coming back to work its magic and old cases receive new life. As the story begins with Decker returning to Burlington, the reader is taken back and discovers some of the pain the series protagonist has been holding onto over the past number of years. Others add depth and intrigue to the story and propel Decker forward to make key choices that not only move the mystery in a key direction, but also help to give the characters entertaining. Moving into the fifth novel in this series, there is little lag as Baldacci continues to offer fresh and interesting directions for his protagonist. With a mix of short chapters and those with more depth to build suspense, Baldacci pulls the reader in from the outset and shows why he is at the top of his game. I cannot wait to see what else he has in store for his fans and what sort of directions things will go in the foreseeable future.

Kudos, Mr. Baldacci, for never letting up and keeping this series full of twists for those who like to be surprised.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

The Fallen (Amos Decker #4), by David Baldacci

Eight stars

David Baldacci’s latest Amos Decker novel touches on some timely material while keeping the reader enthralled throughout. While vacationing in rural Pennsylvania, Amos Decker and his partner, Alex Jamison, seek to unwind with Alex’s sister. When Decker stumbles across a murder scene, he is unable to divorce himself from his sleuthing ways. Two men are found murdered in a home presumed to have been abandoned. This is not the first murder in Baronville of late, which has seen half a dozen bodies piling up over the last few months. While Jamison is happy to let the locals handle things, Decker pulls her into the middle of the investigation as his mind races at light speed. It would appear that someone does not want them poking around, as they are caught in a situation that leaves Decker’s mental abilities tarnished. When tragedy befalls Jamison’s family, she is happy to set the case aside, but Decker is determined to get to the bottom of everything going on, including trying to learn more about the town pariah, a man whose family has influenced the community since its inception. As Decker investigates, the dire the consequences of the opioid crisis come to the surface, where towns across America are being destroyed by new and lethal drugs on a regular basis. When Decker makes a solid connection between these drug deaths and someone in town, he will stop at nothing to reveal the full picture, even if it costs him everything. Baldacci has another winner with this novel, which keeps the reader guessing while addressing some of the poignant topics making their way into news headlines around the world. Recommended to series fans and those who enjoy a well-paced thriller that has a little of everything.

I have long enjoyed Baldacci’s work, which is as varied as his handful of central characters. He has the ability to place his protagonists in interesting predicaments while also pulling news from the headlines to make the novels even more relevant in a genre that seems supersaturated with books. Paring down the series characters, Baldacci focuses on Decker and Jamison, allowing both to develop some more of their backstories/personal sides and offering the reader something on which they can relate. It would seem that the opioid crisis is an ongoing hot button issue and Baldacci finds a way to spin it in a unique fashion to offer his own perspective without getting overly preachy. Baldacci’s subtle use of characters to portray opinions permits the reader to feel at ease throughout this controversial topic. With chapters that keep the narrative flowing effectively and keeps the reader wondering what’s coming next, Baldacci has another winner with this novel in an established series. Perhaps not the best of the novels, but still one well worth the time to read it, I can only wonder what else Baldacci has in store for his fans.

Kudos, Mr. Baldacci, for another wonderful book. I know you have plans for new and exciting series in the fall, but I hope you will not forget this series, which has been gaining momentum since its inception.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons