Monday, November 30, 2015

“The Guilty” by David Baldacci – Old Choices; New Consequences

The Guilty by David Baldacci - front cover
In his many past outings David Baldacci's Will Robie has proven himself to be a one-of-a-kind assassin, ruthless, effective and infallible. One after the other his targets were biting the dust, and he made short work of all his foes even when things were at their most complicated. However, in The Guilty Baldacci reminds us of how human he is, as Robie does the unthinkable: he fails a critical assignment, finding himself simply unable to pull the trigger. With his incompetence overshadowing the grandiose reputation he has built for himself, Robie is sent down on a path into his own past.

After finishing high school, Will Robie left his hometown and severed all ties with his family and anyone he ever knew. Now disgraced, he comes back to his roots as a heinous and unthinkable event transpired: his father, Dan Robie, stands accused of murder. What's more, the venerable attorney and locally-elected town judge isn't trying to defend himself at all, replying to his son's attempts to help him with nothing but anger and disdain. Still, Will feels something is amiss in the big picture and with Jessica Reel at his side he begins an investigation into the whole affair, as well as the past haunting his family, his father, and perhaps even the town itself.

One of the problems many authors face when writing a series based around a certain character is redundancy. After all, it is difficult to give readers what they are expecting while still introducing new concepts; all too often authors that stray from their series' formulas end up driving them into the ground. Thankfully though, Baldacci's gambit paid off quite well and the diversification he brought into the Will Robie series is nothing short of a welcome breath of fresh air.

Baldacci does a fine job at transitioning between the Will Robie story we expect to see and the one he intends on delivering. Rest assured, things still move along rather quickly and there is plenty of action to be had for those with a thirst for it. At the same time though, a large focus is placed on Will and Dan Robie and the development of their father-son relationship, either through the discovery of their past or the strengthening of their bond as one fights for the other's innocence. We get to learn an interesting deal about Will and what makes him the person he is, as well as his family and the town of Cantrell he abandoned so long ago.

Speaking of the town, it is an interesting setting with plenty of hidden nooks and crannies under the surface where dark deeds and secrets are just waiting to be discovered. Seeing Will and Jessica go from one clue to the next and unravel the plot is a thing of pure pleasure with a good amount of unexpected twists; everything progresses in a logical, inventive and original manner befitting of Baldacci's writing prowess.

All things considered, even though The Guilty may not be your typical Will Robie novel, it still ends up being as good as any of the author's better works, bringing the thrills, suspense and action we've come to expect all while taking a different road and developing his character. This is a book that can be easily recommended to all Baldacci fans and anyone who enjoys murder mystery thrillers in general.

David Baldacci (August 5, 1960)

David Baldacci

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Certainly one of the more famous authors of the 21st century, David Baldacci was always gearing himself to become a prominent writer, beginning his work at a very young age as a child. He gifted the readers with countless classics and bestsellers such as The Innocent and Absolute Power.

More of David Baldacci's book reviews:
The Last Mile
Memory Man
The Escape
The Target
King and Maxwell
The Hit
Zero Day
The Forgotten
The Innocent

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