Book of the Day
One Good Deed
By David Baldacci
Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: July 2019
One Good Deed
Review by Joy Gorence
Review of One Good Deed by David Baldacci
David Baldacci has created, Aloysius Archer, a WWII veteran, who vies for the reader’s attention and accomplishes that within the first page. In One Good Deed, Archer’s focus for life begins with the opening line “It was a good day to be free of prison.” His release from Carderock Prison and his arrival in Poca City presents new challenges for Archer. The city sucks him in the same manner that “he sucked in the hot, dry air” of Poca City. His new life begins with securing a job for Mr. Pittleman, who seems to own most of the town. Although the reader may question Archer’s acceptance of the offer, the author entices the reader to acquiesce with Archer’s decision. Later on, when Archer is wrongly accused of a murder, he is determined to maintain his freedom. Luckily, his experiences in World War II have honed his skills of observation. With the introduction of a cast of characters, Archer’s appeal through his actions and interactions with others becomes enhanced.
Baldacci has once again delighted us with his storytelling techniques and his ability to manipulate our attention. He has created a cast of believable and complex characters. The reader sees the characters through Archer’s point of view. When Archer first meets his parole officer, Miss Ernestine J. Crabtree, “[H}is first thought was she looked nothing like her name. His second impression was the name did her justice just fine.” (p. 32). The complexity of her character is foreshadowed by his initial comment. Baldacci provides descriptions of characters that are succinct and visually complete. With a focus on using nouns and noun phrasing, he conveys physical descriptions that affect Archer psychologically. His description of Miss Crabtree continues with “…behind her black shell glasses, her eyes were blue and wide, the irises plump, with the overall effect being what he thought some might call vivacious. At least they held the potential if she let her hair down, in more ways than one” (p. 32). In addition, the tension juxtaposed with Archer’s observations makes for an intriguing story. Baldacci guides us along to the observe the world along with Archer. Baldacci also has the ability for the reader to observe Archer through his interaction with the other characters. In their eyes, Archer is cool, distant, but confident. All characters, although minor, play a significant role in pacing the narration. Mrs. Gibbons, who works in the clerk’s office, provides the vehicle for action that Archer must take, and she creates, although subtly, a springboard for the growing tension.
With his ability to continually build climatic action through dialogue and description, Baldacci entices us to read non-stop to the end of the novel and hope for “an abundance of possibilities” for Archer in future episodes.
Joy Gorence is new to Killer Nashville. She is an author, world-traveler, English professor (ret.), and avid reader. Originally from Long Island, NY she now lives in South Florida with her husband, Bill and their two pampered kitties.