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: