BOOK OF THE DAY

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The Fallen
By David Baldacci
Grand Central Station
$29.00
ISBN  978-1538761397
Publication Date: April 2018

The Fallen

Review by Danny Lindsey

There are two immutable facts in David Baldacci’s latest in his Memory Man series (The Fallen, Grand Central Publishing, 2018). Amos Decker can’t forget anything. And he can’t catch a break. Even when he takes a week off and travels with his partner to visit her sister and celebrate her niece’s birthday, he manages to find dead bodies. They aren’t the first recent murders in the dying coal town, and predictably, they won’t be the last.

Baronville is typical of rust belt towns. Built a century ago to take advantage of a booming mining and millwork industry, the economy eventually went bust and with it the good jobs. What is left behind are empty storefronts, high unemployment, and a soaring opioid addiction problem. Decker’s partner Alex Jamison’s sister moved to Baronville when her husband was relocated to the new fulfillment center, an Amazon-like monstrosity that promised to bring employment if not prosperity to the town.

But there is a pall hovering over Baronville. The gruesome scene Decker discovers only a few hours into his vacation are murders five and six in a town where murders usually occur only on television. He and Jamison are drawn into the investigation of seemingly unrelated killings of unrelated victims. With no suspects and few clues, even Decker is stymied.

The next victim is close to home, and Decker and Jamison are targeted as well. He becomes convinced that something bigger than Baronville is behind the killings, and the presence of a DEA operations team cements his suspicion. Whatever or whoever is pulling the strings has roots outside the town, but local talent at their disposal.

Decker’s infallible memory may be his only advantage, and at times he discerns a crack there, as well. Baldacci never fails to entertain, and with The Fallen, he has come through again. His Memory Man is cursed with a gift most think would be a blessing.

Danny Lindsey keeps trying to retire. After a 20-year Army career and a 25-year second one in the private sector, he’s finally settled down. His current gig is as the Veteran Employment Services Manager for a Huntsville, A.L.  based non-profit, Still Serving Veterans. Both full careers were characterized by numerous writing assignments, from war plans to operating policies and procedures, then on to white papers, analyses of alternatives and competitive contract and grant proposals. Now his writing consists of blogs for the website www.ssv.org, podcasts for the local NPR affiliate, and a half dozen Pulitzer-worthy, albeit unpublished novels.

Update:  Danny’s 2017 Claymore Award winning manuscript Serial Justice is now available on Amazon!