Reviewed in the United States on November 13, 2018
If I have a favorite genre, it would be either Action-Adventure or International Crime and Conspiracy. To my line of thinking, "Long Road to Mercy" is Action-Adventure, but I noticed it was billed as International Mystery and Crime. At any rate, I knew that it would be a good story, as I always enjoy books by this author.
In one sentence, I found Atlee Pine to be an authentic, Scarily Tough Heroine. "Long Road to Mercy" is a Must-Read.
Mind you, though, that the early chapters in which we learn much about our heroine did give me cause for concern. Why? It seemed eerily close to Silence of the Lambs, but the character by Jody Foster was a much more physically adapted character. A character who, by the way, felt much more authentic than your typical heroine.
Even though I don't think it would be a spoiler, I'm not going to explain the cause for her developing in such a direction, because that is the fresh take, early, regarding this character that makes these first few pages intriguing to read.
The second half of the novel is better than the first half. In fact, some two-thirds in, this becomes a great page-turner. I enjoyed the adventure in this part almost as much as the character.
BLUSH FACTOR Readers familiar with Baldacci will know that his characters are not the sort from the Wizard of Oz, so don't expect to be reading this to youngsters or with your prayer group. But, even if you have objections to the eff-word, this is a book worth reading. And, frankly, the profanity is somewhat sparing. It is used to good effect as a seasoning agent, rather than to an excess.
CHARACTER: My thoughts regarding Atlee Pine - At last, a female FBI agent who feels real and is not some Charlie's Angel or a model. This character has just enough flaws to make her intriguing.
POV: Third person.
I'm only posting the briefest possible tidbit, just so an informed judgment becomes possible.
'...After losing Mercy, she had been put into counseling. As a bereaved six-year-old, she had found it confusing, scary, and, ultimately, unhelpful.
Four years ago, she had tried it again. With the exact same result. She had sat in a group counseling session and had listened as the attendees went around the room discussing their most personal issues. When her turn had come, Pine, who had been shot, stabbed, and attacked multiple times in the line of duty, had started to sweat and taken the coward’s way out—she had passed on her turn and never gone back.
For some reason, all of this had made her averse to possessions. She wanted to go through life with as few as possible. These included people as well. Some shrinks might interpret that as her being fearful of another significant loss. And they might not be far off the mark. But Pine had never allowed herself the time or opportunity to dig deep enough into her psyche to prove that theory true or false.
She showered to take off the dirt and sweat of the Grand Canyon. She dressed in fresh clothes, sat down at her knotty pine kitchen table, which had come with the apartment and which also doubled as her home office, and checked her emails, phone messages, and texts.
There was one from her direct superior out of Flagstaff. He wanted to know
Baldacci, David. Long Road to Mercy (Atlee Pine) (pp. 45-46). Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Although the trip to the prison to visit the serial killer felt a little too familiar, and raises other questions in the reader's minds, it was enough different and personal enough that it was not so similar to other stories in this genre. Further, the writing throughout "Long Road to Mercy" is taut with intrigue and suspense so much so that I could only, with much difficulty, put it down to take care of other pressing needs, such as make a pot of coffee and the like.
Five stars out of five.
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