Steel-jawed John Puller is back for another round with the bad guys in Baldacci’s latest action thriller.
Puller's equally virile and handsome brother, Robert, an Air Force major, is serving time in the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, following his conviction on charges of treason. As the book opens, he performs a seemingly impossible escape from his cell. John, an investigator with the CID, the Army’s investigative arm, is charged by an odd coalition of three powerful men—a one-star Air Force general, a three-star Army general and a representative of the National Security Council—with the improbable task of finding his brother. Robert, though, isn’t waiting to be caught. He’s changed his appearance, hacked into a national database, bought a car and headed out to clear himself. Standing in his way is the mysterious fact that an unidentified dead body has been found in his recently vacated cell. While John and his disgraced brother go at the case from different angles, another investigator also comes into play. Capt. Veronica Knox teams up with a reluctant John, looking for his brother and piecing together the method behind his escape, even though it's soon apparent that many others are also on his trail. Not surprisingly, John and Knox engage in a lot of pre-romantic verbal fencing and meaningful looks. But though the action is fast and furious, the characters never rise beyond the stereotypical. The good guys are predictably skilled, noble and racing against time, while their opposites exude evil. Baldacci punches up the action but often drifts into painfully stilted dialogue and pointless wardrobe descriptions.
A book that will entertain some readers but won’t linger after the final page.