Reading

A Minute to Midnight – David Baldacci | A Book Review

A Minute to Midnight - David Baldacci

Title: A Minute to Midnight

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s the second novel in the Atlee Pine series that follows an FBI agent as she tries to figure out what happened to her twin sister, Mercy, who was kidnapped thirty years ago. Atlee returns to her hometown in Georgia to begin her investigation. When a local woman is killed and a second murder follows, she also has to find a killer before more people die.

First impressions: I always love a good Baldacci thriller. I haven’t read the first book in this series, but I could follow along just fine. I liked the premise, so I was interested to see how the story would play out.

Characters: The story revolves around Atlee, revealing her backstory and development. I think there weren’t too many or too few characters. Overall, I enjoyed the different interactions.

Quote:

“The thing is, sometimes you think you know someone, but you really don’t.”

Writing: The book is almost 500 pages with short chapters that sometimes end in a cliffhanger. Some of the twists took me by surprise. I liked the story more and more as the plot unfolded.

Final thoughts: The ending answers some questions while setting the stage for the next book. Now I want to check out the rest of the series to see where Baldacci goes with it. If you want to read a thriller about a kidnapping and a killer in a small rural town, pick up A Minute to Midnight.


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Reading

A Gambling Man – David Baldacci | A Book Review

A Gambling Man - David Baldacci

Title: A Gambling Man

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the second novel in the series that follows Aloysius Archer who works for a private investigator named Willie Dash. A politician running for mayor comes to them with a blackmail case. The story is set in Bay Town, California during the late 1940s.

I received an advanced reader copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I’ve read the first novel, One Good Deed, and many of Baldacci’s works. I don’t really remember what happened previously, but I could follow along just fine. The beginning starts slow as the author builds the setting of the story.

Characters: Aloysius Archer, Willie Dash, and an aspiring actress named Liberty Callahan grew on me. I found it easy enough to keep track who was who. Aloysius and Liberty are strong characters individually, so I was a fan of their relationship.

Quote:

“The ultimate loyalty is to put the interests of many above your own.”

Writing: The pacing picks up at the middle and end of the novel. I love the short chapters told in third person. There’s more description in the beginning and more dialogue later on.

Final thoughts: The twists and turns throughout the story were executed well. I felt like the ending wasn’t the most unpredictable, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. If you’re looking to pick up a fun historical thriller, I would recommend A Gambling Man.


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Reading

One Good Deed – David Baldacci | A Book Review

One Good Deed - David Baldacci

Title: One Good Deed

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone following Aloysius Archer, a man who served in the war and went to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s 1949 when Archer gets out. After a murder happens in a small town, he becomes the primary suspect and has to figure out the truth.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I’m a fan of Baldacci, having read many of his other novels, so I was looking forward to this one. It’s different from his previous works, specifically the historical setting. Even the writing struck me as more descriptive. The beginning doesn’t throw you into the action right away, but rather it builds the world slowly.

Characters: Once I got to know Archer and learn more about his past, I started rooting for him. The secondary characters are also an interesting bunch. The author did a great job making me suspicious of everyone. Even so, I couldn’t figure out who killed whom.

Quote:

“The turth not only can hurt, but also can have the capacity to destroy.”

Writing: Like I mentioned earlier, there’s more description and world-building than his other novels. A lot of attention went into detailing what characters were wearing.

Final thoughts: I always love seeing how Baldacci ends his stories. I almost never figure out everything perfectly. I liked this ending, even though I didn’t see it coming. The suspense takes some time to build, but the story gets better as the plot advances.

I highly recommend One Good Deed if you’re a fan of historical crime fiction. It’s a departure from his earlier books in a good way.


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Reading

Redemption – David Baldacci | A Book Review

Redemption - David Baldacci

Title: Redemption

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the fifth novel in a series following Amos Decker, a football player turned detective after a head injury cut his NFL career short. A man named Meryl Hawkins who was convicted of four murders thirteen years ago asks Decker to clear his name.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I’ve enjoyed books by Baldacci in the past, so I was excited to read his latest novel. I like the title, cover, and premise.

Characters: The characters grew on me. They’re all flawed in some way. Decker is a complicated character with a difficult past.

Quote:

“I let circumstances beyond my control define me.”

Writing: The short chapters that end on cliffhangers help build suspense. I also loved the back and forth banter between characters. Baldacci does dialogue so well. He balances the darker scenes with light moments.

Final thoughts: The plot unfolded at a quick pace. Even though the ending ties up loose ends, I was left wanting more.

I suggest reading the previous books first because the book references past events. That said, it’s still possible to follow along. I highly recommend Redemption if you’re a fan of fast thrillers.


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Reading

The Fallen – David Baldacci | A Book Review

The Fallen - David Baldacci

Title: The Fallen

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the fourth novel in a series that follows Amos Decker who works for the FBI.

I received a copy of the book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love Baldacci’s works, so I had high expectations. I enjoyed the action-packed beginning where Decker discovers a crime scene.

The title and cover page are great. I haven’t read the other books in the series, but it’s not necessary.

Characters: Amos Decker is a complex character because he develops over the course of the story. Alex Jamison works with Decker, and she’s likeable as well.

The book has many characters, yet Baldacci makes it easy to keep track of everyone’s identity. Also, there’s more than one bad guy.

Quote:

“Sometimes that’s all you need for a major life change: a dream.”

Writing: I’m a fan of the short, suspenseful chapters. Baldacci balances description with dialogue well. He moves the plot along at a good pace without rushing scenes or dragging things out.

The author created a well-written, well-edited book. It’s easy to follow along but still hard to predict everything at the same time. Bonus, there’s no romance.

Final thoughts: I read the ending in one sitting because I didn’t want to put the novel down. A lot happens, and I didn’t see much coming. If you love a good suspenseful thriller, be sure to check The Fallen. I highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.

All in all, the novel is a fun, fascinating read about different issues such as drugs, specifically the opioid crisis in America.


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Reading

End Game – David Baldacci | A Book Review

End Game - David Baldacci

Title: End Game

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: The fourth novel in the Will Robie series. I received a copy from Hachette.

First impressions: I’ve read plenty of Baldacci in the past, so I went in with high expectations. The beginning got me even more excited. He throws readers into the action. Somehow the book got better as it went on.

Summary: Will Robie and Jessica Reel have to find their handler who went missing in Colorado.

Characters: I almost forgot how much I like both Robie and Reel, the two central characters. They’re so good at their jobs but, in some regards, so bad to each other. I enjoyed seeing the progression of their relationship as well. In my opinion, Baldacci creates memorable characters. He develops them. I’m all for his antagonists having realistic motivations. There’s just enough backstory to understand what makes each hero or villain tick.

Quote:

“And if someone can’t act on love, then what does anything else really matter?”

Conflict: The small town has big problems. The protagonists are put into dangerous situations time and time again from beginning to end.

Writing: The pacing is near perfect, especially during the climax of the story. I couldn’t wait to see how the novel would play out. I had a hard time accurately predicting what would happen next, so I was surprised by many of the plot twists. Even after I spoiled a chapter for myself, I still found myself in suspense.

Final thoughts: I whizzed through the last several chapters because I needed answers to all my questions. A part of me didn’t want to finish the book because of how good it was. While a lot of sad things happen, the story ends on a happy note. I’ll say no more lest I spoil it for you.

I highly recommend this novel. If you’re searching for an entertaining read, you almost can’t go wrong with Baldacci. Fair warning: his books aren’t easy to put down.

Even though I’ve read a lot of his stories, I think End Game is up there as one of my favourites by him. So I hope someday you get to enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!


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Reading

No Man’s Land – David Baldacci | A Book Review

No Man's Land - David Baldacci

Title: No Man’s Land

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the fourth book in a series which follows an army investigator, John Puller.

First impressions: I’ve read Baldacci’s works in the past, and I keep returning to his stuff. They’re entertaining and exciting. I’m also a bit biased because The Escape was my first Baldacci novel, so it has a special place in my heart. For that reason and others, the John Puller books are some of my favourites. Hence why I had to pick up No Man’s Land.

Summary: Puller’s mom disappeared thirty years ago. Now Puller’s dad is accused of murdering his wife. John Puller won’t stop investigating until he finds out the truth, despite attempts from people to throw a gigantic wrench in his plans.

Characters: Not long ago, I fell in love with Robert Puller, John’s older brother. Thanks to this story, I fell in love even more. Is that even possible? I can’t explain it. I just love the interaction between both brothers. The humour and sarcasm gets me every time.

While you don’t have to have read the first three in the series (Zero Day, The Forgotten, The Escape). they do provide greater insight into the Puller family.

Paul Rogers is a man on a mission, seeking revenge. Although he does many terrible things, I couldn’t help but feel like he wasn’t the bad guy at any point.

Kudos to Baldacci for writing interesting characters with realistic motivations.

Quote:

“Truths coming from those facts can be difficult to accept, particularly when they are of a personal nature.”

Conflict: Conflicts between people are my kind of conflicts.

Writing: When I’m reading for leisure, I almost always appreciate short sentences and chapters. I’ve also noticed Baldacci tends to set up his books in a similar way too.

Even though I predicted some things, there were a few twists I didn’t see coming. That’s likely why I keep returning to his works. I won’t spoil anything for anyone. You’ll have to find out what happens for yourself.

Final thoughts: Near the end, I really wanted to know the real truth. I think the ending provides much needed closure for everyone, characters and readers alike. That said, I hope Baldacci continues the series further.

My bias rears its head again when I say that I’d love for a larger focus on Robert Puller, even if the author technically wrote a story about him already. I’d love for the two brothers to work every case together from here on out. Regardless I think No Man’s Land might be one of my favourite books by Baldacci. In general, you can expect fun, quick reads from him.

I recommend if you’re interested in fast-paced thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat or the tips of your toes. (I stood while reading most of the novel.)


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Writing

Saving Faith – David Baldacci | A Book Review

Saving Faith - David Baldacci

Title: Saving Faith

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone about Faith Lockheart who has to flee for her life after an assassination attempt goes wrong, but she isn’t sure who she can trust

First impressions: I’ve read some of Baldacci’s novels in the past, so I had an idea of what to expect. The author tends to start off with a scene that sets up the rest of the story. I didn’t know what was going on, which made me want to find out more.

Characters: It took me a while to get behind some of the characters. By the end, I found myself rooting for the good guys of course, especially Lee Adams, a private investigator. Baldacci does a good job creating likeable and unlikeable characters as well. He’s great at making flawed characters. Everyone is imperfect in some way with either a problematic past, a sticky situation, or both. But because we’re dealing with fiction, the characters’ traits can obviously be exaggerated.

Quote:

“So maybe I do what I do because the sum of the world’s tragedies outweighs its happiness.”

Writing: I’ve read many other books by Baldacci. Saving Faith is good but not the best one in my opinion. It’s still an entertaining, fun read. Probably not the most realistic, however. He tells an interesting story by adding enough suspense to keep you turning the pages. All in all, the sentences are short and the chapters aren’t too long. So it makes for a fast, enjoyable reading experience.

Final thoughts: I will say I liked the ending (last 100 pages or so) the most. It ties up a lot of loose ends while answering most of the questions posed throughout the novel.

If you’re looking for a summer thriller, be sure to check out Saving Faith if you haven’t done so already.

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