After a bit of a reading slump, I needed a fast-paced book to get me going. I picked up David Baldacci from the local library here last weekend. It was my first Baldacci, and the first book in Baldacci’s Amos Decker series (there have been four so far in the series). Amos Decker is the detective at play, solving mysteries and murders. Having suffered a head injury that ended his football career, the trauma induced a condition called hyperthymesia and synesthesia. The result of this- is never being able to forget anything! Weird as the condition may sound, it is this ability that gets him to crack cases and get behind those involved in some heinous crimes.
The case in the book
As Decker returns home one evening, he finds his wife, young daughter and brother-in-law, brutally murdered. His family destroyed, and the identity of the killer being a mystery, Decker’s world comes crumbling down. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the streets. But a little over a year later, all of a sudden, a man turns himself up to the police, confessing to the crime. It is around the same time, a high school shooting rocks the town, where innocent lives are snuffed out. Decker has to jump in, as he realizes that the school incident is related to the killing of his family. Plus, Decker is sure that the man who surrendered is not actually the one behind it all. There is someone else. Decker has to uncover this stunning truth before it is too late. In a constant chase of clues, Memory Man is a thriller that you would not want to put down. Fast-past and an edge-of-the-seat kind read, it will keep you hooked right till the end.
What scored for Memory Man?
He knows how to keep you interested in the book. And that according to me is Baldacci’s strongest point. His narration isn’t something over the top. It is crisp and lucid. The thrill elements are well placed, and spread across the book. So there aren’t any moments where you would want to really skip those pages. And if an author can achieve this in a thriller, half the job is done. In over twenty years, starting with “Absolute Power” in the year 1996, Baldacci has had a significant number of bestsellers. That’s not to say all his books are a must read. I have read reviews where the critics have pulled down his books for being absolutely bizarre in its plot. But the Memory Man, proved to be entertaining as well as interesting.
And what failed in Memory Man
Yes, I would stress again on the fact again that the book had me hooked. But that didn’t stop me from overlooking the plot holes. There seemed to be a lack of analysis of the key evidences just to prolong the mystery. That got onto my nerves for some strange reason. Further, Amos and his medical condition of never forgetting ANYTHING seemed far too bizarre. The motive of the perpetrators also didn’t quite sum up to all the crimes committed. Thus, the end failed to live up to the thrill that was built up from the very first page.
Nevertheless despite the quirkiness of Decker and his condition, Baldacci has a hero here. Read it just for the thrills, with a murder or two at every juncture, and a psycho killer at large.