I say it every time I review one of the books in this series by David Baldacci, but I love Amos Decker. Possibly not as much as I did when we first met him and I suspect that’s because his superpower (hyperthymesia) seems to be diminishing, or at least less obvious, along with his anti-social quirks. That’s not to say we’re getting a diluted ‘Memory Man’ now, but perhaps a more realistic one, more fallible and more reliant on his detecting skills than his perfect-recall.
Here his regular partner (Alex) is away again and I wonder at Baldacci’s relationship with Alex Jamison – the character he created – as he partners Decker with others often. Disappearing Alex. And here, although she pops in briefly, she seemed to be quite different to the character I knew and loved. We learn she’s reluctant to return to working with Decker, saying she finds him exhausting and needed a reprieve.Long Shadows
by David Baldacci
Series: Amos Decker #7
Published by Macmillan
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
Things are changing for Memory Man, FBI Agent, Amos Decker. He is in crisis following the suicide of a close friend and receipt of a letter concerning a personal issue which could change his life forever. Together with the prospect of working with a new partner, Frederica White, Amos Decker knows that this case will take all of his special skills to solve.
Judge Julia Cummins seemingly had no enemies and there was no forced entry to her property. Close friends and neighbours in the community apparently heard nothing, and Cummins' distraught ex-husband, Barry, and teenage son, Tyler, both have strong alibis. Decker must first find the answer to why the judge felt the need for a bodyguard, and the meaning behind the strange calling card left by the killer.
As the investigation deepens, the body count rises, and Decker and White discover a trail which leads back to a past presidential campaign and an unsolved crime surrounding those in power at the very highest level.
The blurb indicates that Decker’s thrown by the suicide of a colleague and friend. In case you’re like me and worried that happened at the end of the previous book in this series and don’t remember… don’t worry as that scene actually opens this book. It was a bit left-field inclusion, but I guess has implications for Decker as his former partner takes her life because her memory is failing her and she knows that Decker has his own memory-related baggage in that particular luggage compartment.
Decker’s then thrown into a case in Florida with a new partner – Frederica (Freddie). I very much liked Freddie and assume we’ll meet her again as they develop a respect for each other over the course of this investigation. It becomes obvious though that they’ve been sent on a messy case and set-up to fail, so Decker realises how much his former boss protected him (and his quirky ways) from the FBI power-makers.
As often happens in crime fiction, we’re given a few cases for the price of one and left to work out if or how they intersect. Here Decker is sure that two murders (the judge and the bodyguard) – occurring in the same house at the same time – are in fact the work of different perpetrators. But is he wrong for a change?
In investigating the dead bodyguard Decker and Freddie dip into the past as well, as they look into his employers and long-buried secrets.
I commented in my review of Walk the Wire (the last book in this series) that I felt Baldacci made things a little too convoluted. It’s borderline here with potential crimes of passion mixed with blackmailers, politics and a bit of espionage thrown in. But though a smidge over-the-top, it ultimately comes together and certainly kept me interested.
So, I’m still enjoying this series. I may be a bit confused about the direction Baldacci’s taking some of the characters, but we’re certainly not getting the same overarching story arcs being dragged out which can be the case with some series’. There’s a hint things might change for Decker in terms of his health and I liked Freddie, so look forward to seeing what comes next.
Long Shadows by David Baldacci was published in Australia by Pan Macmillan and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.