I happily admitted I fell a little in love with Amos Decker when I met him in Memory Man – David Baldacci’s first book in the series featuring the man who experienced a head injury giving him perfect recall (hence the title #obvs).
The Fallen is the fourth book in the series and probably my second favourite to the original as it’s very much about Decker and his investigation skills and there’s probably less workplace / territorial game-playing in the background.
by David Baldacci
Series: Amos Decker #4
Published by Macmillan
on April 19th 2018
Genres: Crime Fiction
ISBN: 1509874267, 9781509874262
Amos Decker and his journalist friend Alex Jamison are visiting the home of Alex's sister in Baronville, a small town in western Pennsylvania that has been hit hard economically. When Decker is out on the rear deck of the house talking with Alex's niece, a precocious six-year-old, he notices flickering lights and then a spark of flame in the window of the house across the way. When he goes to investigate he finds two dead bodies inside and it's not clear how either man died. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There's something going on in Baronville that might be the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country.
Faced with a stonewalling local police force, and roadblocks put up by unseen forces, Decker and Jamison must pull out all the stops to solve the case. And even Decker's infallible memory may not be enough to save them.
Naturally one must suspend disbelief around the fact that Decker and his (FBI) partner Alex Jamison just happen to stumble across a series of murders on their holiday (literally, given the first takes place next door to where they’re staying) but eventually there’s a link of sorts and Alex’s family is drawn into the mire.
Although I say there’s minimal game-playing, there’s some (mentioned in the blurb above) though it’s not a focus as it has been in other books. The local cops are happy enough for Decker and Alex’s involvement, but the DEA (when they arrive enmasse) are initially less enthused. And I should mention that I’m not concerned about offering any spoilers re the fact there are drug-related issues in the book cos we learn pretty early that Baronville (named after a once-wealthy local family) is rife with addicts from all walks of life.
In addition to the cops and agents, I very much liked the inclusion of Alex’s niece (and sister, though mainly her niece) who was a perfect foil to Alex’s socially-challenged behaviours. And – like other novels in the series which have introduced characters with whom Decker can relate – Baldacci includes the remaining member of the Baron family… much hated by the town his family created, before his predecessors cried poor and closed down its factories.
Interestingly, Decker suffers a concussion in this book and it’s worse than he admits to Alex. Initially there’s some relief it’s perhaps returned some of the social skills he once possessed… the flip side of course being it may have lessened his eidetic memory abilities. (And is it bad that I worried he’d lose some of the quirkiness I’ve grown to love?!)
As usual Baldacci offers up a complex plot which takes a while to make sense and though there are a lot of players, they’re there for a reason and all bring something to the story. I must admit I was probably less engaged in the plot as I went along – as it seemed a bit convoluted, and kinda prosaic, at the same time. And I don’t mean simple or boring, more I guess that it’s like they say – most crimes or murders come down to just a few motivations. (And I’ll not suggest which this is to avoid any spoilers!)
Twisty, (perhaps overly) multilayered plot aside I lapped-up this book and didn’t want it to finish. I very much enjoyed having Decker (and Alex I guess) to myself and wonder if other readers of the series will feel the same.
The Fallen 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.