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One Good Deed (An Archer Novel) Paperback – January 21, 2020
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It's 1949. When war veteran Aloysius Archer is released from Carderock Prison, he is sent to Poca City on parole with a short list of do's and a much longer list of don'ts: do report regularly to his parole officer, don't go to bars, certainly don't drink alcohol, do get a job -- and don't ever associate with loose women.
The small town quickly proves more complicated and dangerous than Archer's years serving in the war or his time in jail. Within a single night, his search for gainful employment -- and a stiff drink -- leads him to a local bar, where he is hired for what seems like a simple job: to collect a debt owed to a powerful local businessman, Hank Pittleman.
Soon Archer discovers that recovering the debt won't be so easy. The indebted man has a furious grudge against Hank and refuses to pay; Hank's clever mistress has her own designs on Archer; and both Hank and Archer's stern parole officer, Miss Crabtree, are keeping a sharp eye on him.
When a murder takes place right under Archer's nose, police suspicions rise against the ex-convict, and Archer realizes that the crime could send him right back to prison . . . if he doesn't use every skill in his arsenal to track down the real killer.
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"David Baldacci is a master storyteller, and he invokes the classic feel of the post-war 1940s evident in the timeless literature and film of that time. A sympathetic hero and a cast of mysterious citizens in a small town summon familiar themes one expects in a Baldacci novel, and he once again doesn't disappoint."―Associated Press
"Insightful and entertaining, Baldacci has captured the time and events perfectly with authenticity, beauty and flawless prose . . . Archer is a terrific anti-hero with plenty of longevity and originality [and] the supporting cast is just as memorable. Gripping from beginning to end."―New York Journal of Books
"Baldacci has crafted an ingenious and addicting read in which each paragraph provides a new revelation. The time period and writing style immediately called to mind the works of the immortal James M. Cain . . . [a] terrific slice of crime noir."―Bookreporter.com
"Mega-selling mystery writer David Baldacci's latest takes us back in time and introduces a new series protagonist that may become one of his most popular . . . a captivating page-turner."―The Florida Times-Union
"David Baldacci switches gears with magnificent results . . . simmering suspense and splendid prose . . . Terrific-reading entertainment."―Providence Journal
"Baldacci nails the setting -- capturing everything from the way things looked back in 1949 to how people spoke, adding realism and authenticity to the story. The characters are developed nicely, especially Archer, who flashes real star power throughout . . . Fast-paced and packed with plenty of suspense."―The Real Book Spy
"One Good Deed is an uproarious, tangled-web tale . . . David Baldacci knows how to pleasurably wind us up."―The Washington Book Review
"Baldacci is a master of pace and plotting, and One Good Deed doesn't let up on the throttle. A good ´40s noir."―Historical Novel Society
"This is a world that twists with murder and vengeance . . . Will keep you engrossed until the last page."―She Reads
About the Author
- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (January 21, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1538750589
- ISBN-13 : 978-1538750582
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 1.25 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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POV: Written in third person, some aspects of intimacy are weak, despite some touches by the author in developing the primary characters. What I mean is, we don’t get that personal feeling of the main character. Also, with first person POV we could be fooled, now and then, in the same way the hero would be while he conducts his investigation and learns of the errors of his previous mistaken observations. That’s why I ordinarily opt for private eyes who tell us what they see and do as they proceed through their narrative. Still, Baldacci does a good job taking us through the daily routine of a WWII vet after he is released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
BLUSH FACTOR: Although there is plenty of the rough language, there is not a single eff-word in “One Good Deed.” For those interested in sordid details, there is reference to, uh, extracurricular affairs but not in any way graphic. Be certain that the author is NOT a kiss-and-tell type writer. Look to other writers if graphic stimulation is your reason for reading anything of a romantic nature.
Excerpt: Fans of Baldacci, even of this new character, probably already have good reason to read the book, even without glancing at an excerpt. Newbies, though, might appreciate this very short piece taken from about 12 percent into the book.
‘…His spending spree had cost him all of fifty cents, with the twin Jacksons lying in the depths of his pocket undiminished. He managed to scrounge a cigarette off a passing stranger, and he sat on a bench near the town square taking his time whittling it down and watching all who passed by in front of him. There was prosperity in the air, comingling with those clearly in economic despair. But those on that woeful side of the equation would no doubt work hard to get to the “other side” with all due speed, rising to the mountaintop to look down on others scrambling madly for their piece of the pie. And that, to Archer, was the fledgling American dream in a nutshell, particularly after a war that had knocked the stuffing out of just about everyone.
Archer had good reason to soak in as much of Poca City as he possibly could. This would be his home, at least for the foreseeable future, and he had made friendly with as many folks as he could on his walking tour, at the same time foraging for information to the extent he could without raising their suspicions. He had learned that some had short fuses, and he was not looking to make enemies of any sort.
Like Dill, many had heard of Mr. Hank Pittleman, though the opinions of these folks varied greatly. He was either a devil or a benefactor, with not one commentator occupying the middle ground. Archer took in all this with a grain of salt and let it marinate as he smoked. Many had also heard of Lucas Tuttle. He was described as a farmer of fierce devotion to the soil and a provocateur of skilled debate. He was also a seasoned hunter, as comfortable with firearms as he was skewering, with his impressive vocabulary and agile wits, those who did not align with his points of view on myriad subjects. These ranged from local crop rotation theories to the efficacy of the Marshall Plan to the question of the gold standard versus all other benchmarks.
A curious combination and perhaps the earmarks of a formidable person from whom to…’
Baldacci, David. One Good Deed (pp. 42-43). Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Kept me guessing and, the further I got into the story, the more I had to read it. Definitely, I recommend this to readers looking for a clean action-adventure suspense novel. It’s not a great tale, but it certainly is a story worth your time. I intend to purchase the Audible Edition and will listen to it during my next journey across country.
Four stars out of five.
In One Good Deed, Baldacci breaks from type, setting his novel in the period immediately following World War II. Fresh out of prison, we follow World War II veteran Aloysius Archer to Poca City where he must serve three years of parole. Armed with a list of dos and dont's, Archer immediately seeks out the nearest bar and gets in trouble. Naturally.
The writing style is spare, clipped, with a surprising number of sentence fragments. It feels very much like a man is writing for other men. There is detail aplenty, but it is detached, impersonal.
If you've liked Baldacci's other books, you'll like enjoy this one as well.
Top reviews from other countries
Yes there are some plot devices which test the limits of credibility, but the story moves along at pace, with good characters and strong writing.
I hope there are more outings for Archer.