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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Last Mile by David Baldacci (audio)

The Last Mile by David Baldacci (unabridged audio)
The Last Mile
written by David Baldacci
read by Kyf Brewer
ISBN 10: 1478930004
ISBN13: 978-1478930006
audio - 10 CD's 
hardcover - 432 pages

David Baldacci's Website

Read an excerpt

My Review:

When we first met Amos Decker he was living life looking in the rear-view mirror. His big dreams of a being an NFL star ended on the first play. The crushing helmet to helmet blow
resulted in rare cognitive phenomenons known as synesthesia and hyperthymesia, which lead to a stellar, two-decade career in law enforcement. That too ended with a tragic blow. When returning home from work one night he found his wife, daughter, and brother-in-law murdered. Living in a small hotel room, this big man, with few social skills worked doggedly to see his family vindicated.

Having helped the FBI capture a vicious murderer, it's no surprise when he's tapped to join a newly formed cold case unit that includes journalist Alexandra Jamison, clinical psychologist Lisa Davenport, and Todd Milligan, an FBI field agent. Passing time on the drive to FBI Headquarters in Quantico Virginia, Decker listens to NPR radio. When a story about the pending execution of Melvin Mars grabs his attention. Decker can hardly believe his ears, as he listens to the striking similarities between what has happened to him and the Melvin Mars case. He arrives in Virginia and convinces the team to look into the case.  Then at the eleventh hour, an Alabama death row inmate throws a wrench into the Texas death chamber's clock when he confesses to single-handedly killing Mars' parents. Freeing Mars was simply the first step in unraveling the recipe for murder that sent an innocent man to death row for twenty years. The officers that built the case and the prosecutors that won the conviction are uninterested in the last minute reprieve. They are interested in only one thing...seeing Melvin Mars executed. And there's a "southern mafia boss" hell-bent on doing what the state of Texas didn't.

Amos Decker is a fascinating mix of damaged soul, genius brain, an unlikely hero. However, if this series is to be long-running, his quirky habits and lone-wolf attitude need to be changed.  He talks at, not with team members. They can't add depth and dimension to the story when Decker is determined to have all eyes on him. There's more talk than first-person action. While this is an easy, quick way to convey just the important information. It eliminates all the extra stuff we would get from a first person view. And me personally... I like having the stuff. It's one of Decker's "flying solo" tricks that triggers a rushed ending that left me feeling a bit cheated.

From D.C. to Alabama, Mississippi to Texas, Baldacci mixes an interesting southern brew, even when peppered with red herrings. I could see what was coming from a mile away, and I liked it anyway.

Happy Listening!


**Although I felt Memory Man fell just a little flat - it's a solid read that introduces a fascinating lead character. It's something new, not the same ol' cookie cutter suspense/thriller story.
Even though The Last Mile would be an enjoyable solo read, Memory Man is the foundation upon which Baldacci is building the Amos Decker series and I recommend reading it first.

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