I have read most of David Baldacci’s books and have generally found a pattern in his writing. His stories start off with action after which the pace drops a notch and narration takes over till the basic framework of the story is revealed to the readers. And then the action once again takes over keeping the reader engrossed till the end.
It was with this expectation that I picked up his latest novel “Zero Hour” after nearly three years of a “semi sabbatical” from reading. I was in for a real surprise – the first few pages put the story firmly in gear and Mr. Baldacci doesn’t slow the pace one bit till the very end. It almost reminded me of action oriented novels of Alistair Maclean or James Hadley Chase but with much more complex, intricate and interwoven plots all narrated at a pace which makes it difficult to put the book down. Yes, I finished the book in one day and at one go – it was that gripping!
John Puller is the hero, a criminal investigator with the US Army, roped in to probe the rather gruesome and mysterious murder of Col. Mathew Reynolds and his family in a remote town in West Virginia. This is where Puller meets Samantha Cole, local detective who partners with him in his investigations. Mystery deepens when a further series of murders quickly follow to increase the body count. There is the local business tycoon Roger Trent who practically owns the town’s businesses to whom the finger points along with his beautiful wife. And you have Trent’s second in command Bill Strauss along with his son Dickie (yes!) who seems to be hiding quite a few skeletons in his closet. The emotional angle is provided by Puller’s family – his father, a retired, highly distinguished ex US Army hero and a brilliant brother serving a life sentence for treason.
Add to all this some interesting insights into the intricate machinery of the Pentagon and the US Army along with a hint of romance between Puller and Sam and you have a first class, racy, mystery suspense thriller guaranteeing you a few hours of complete entertainment. The book ends with Puller predictably solving the case but with a few twists and turns – one of which I, being the eternal romantic, did not quite like. If you have read the book you will know what I am hinting at!
To all Baldacci fans out there – you cannot miss this one!
Happy Reading 🙂