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29 October 2015

David Baldacci: The Guilty

Will Robie, the hit man, still has a conscience
This is #4 in David Baldacci's bestselling series about Will Robie, the hit man with a conscience. I had wondered how Baldacci could keep this kind of series going. His answer is to make it personal and go back to Robie's early days.

While a major hit by Robie is successful, the collateral damage of the death of a young boy by the same bullet is too emotional for Robie to take. He is not able to complete his next assignment.

His controller tells him to take a break and get himself together again. At the same time, he tells him that his estranged father has been arrested for murder. Reluctantly Robie goes back to the small Missippi town that he left over 20 years ago to find out what has happened. Robie has to face up to his past and the estranged father who physically and mentally abused him for so many years.

I enjoyed the first half of the book (3.5 stars) as Robie adjusts again to life in the small deep-south town he abandoned a long time ago. Many things have changed. His father is now a Judge, has remarried a beautiful woman around Robie's age and has a 3-year-old son (so he has a stepmother and stepbrother).   He starts to come to grips with the past and tries to work out if he can help his father - the only way to get his father released is to find the actual murderer. But his father is not very enthusiastic about his help.

The second part of the book is basically a third-rate whodunit (2 stars). When his colleague Jessica Reel comes to help him the body count escalates. Robie and Reel discover more murders, blackmail, pedophilia, incest, and consanguinity. Of course along the way they get ambushed and chased by the baddies. The eventual exposure of the murderer was so ridiculous that I actually laughed out loud.

The main saving grace is that at the end Robie stands out as an honorable and caring individual - once again an hit man with a conscience.

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