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THE FORGOTTEN by David Baldacci

THE FORGOTTEN

By David Baldacci

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-446-57305-4
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

“The next time you go on R and R, pick a safer place than Paradise.” Mysterian Baldacci (The Sixth Man, 2011, etc.) serves up a gently ironic tale of mayhem, this time set in idyllic Florida.

John Puller is a classic Baldacci character, a combat-wise Army special agent whose life has been spent in service. His ailing father, a retired general, has received a letter from his older sister, who has just died under questionable circumstances, and though it doesn’t reveal much, it’s enough for Puller to head south and begin poking around. Before long, he runs afoul of, then makes alliances with, the local gendarmerie. And because Puller is, after all, a hairy-chested dude who knows his way around guns and conspiracies and all that, pretty soon there’s a dame involved. Two, even. Baldacci works all the angles with due skill; it’s not Hammett or Chandler, but the prose is serviceable, the tale broadly entertaining. What is best is his showing Puller’s line of reasoning as he attempts to figure out just what it was that his elderly aunt saw that led to her death—and when he finally does, how he deals with the culprit, who, suffice it to say, looks very good in a tight-fitting uniform. The clichés are refreshingly few, and Baldacci writes sympathetically of the not-so-golden years at the end of life, when Puller’s father, once the commander of 100,000 men in battle, is “now intently watching a TV show where people guessed the prices of everyday stuff in an attempt to win more stuff.”

A solid thriller—though someone tell the fact checker that Bulgaria was never part of the Soviet Union.