01 November 2014
David Baldacci: The Escape
David Baldacci returns again this year with an exciting thriller, the third of his series about John Puller, a former war hero who is one of the best military investigators in the US Army's Criminal Investigative Division. This time Puller is faced with one of the most dangerous and controversial cases in his career - to find a maximum security prisoner from the Leavenworth Military Prison who has made a miraculous escape and left an unknown dead body in his cell. The case is controversial because the escapee is Puller's elder brother Bobby who was convicted by a military court of serious national security crimes.
The first couple of chapters about how the escape happened set the scene for an absorbing chase to find how and why the escape happened and to find and arrest Bobby. What is surprising is that a trio of top military brass ask Puller to find his brother and bring him back for justice especially as Bobby has an almost eidetic memory of important military secrets. Puller soon finds that the whole thing reeks of conspiracy at the highest level with possible overseas influence within the security agencies of the US.Also he soon not sure if Bobby was actually guilty of the crimes for which he was imprisoned.
Puller is normally a loner but he is forced to work with enigmatic (and of course attractive) US intelligence officer, Captain Veronica Knox who he has problems trusting. Of course she has problems trusting Puller, especially about how will react when they finally hunt down his brother. The plot has many twists and turns and is absorbing reading. As with other recent Baldacci thrillers the plot sometimes verges on the unbelievable but this time it doesn't go over the believability barrier too much.
After THE FORGOTTEN Baldacci has brought John Puller back from looking like a Jack Reacher clone to his military CID roots. Baldacci has the talent to create a number of very different and compelling lead characters and Puller is now towards the top of the list. My main reservation is that Puller is not as charismatic as some of the other ones - especially Oliver Stone and the Camel Club. The finale certainly sets the scene for an interesting return sometime later on.