Monday, February 18, 2013
Army Special Agent John Puller is the best there is. A combat veteran, Puller is the man the U.S. Army relies on to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. Now he has a new case-but this time, the crime is personal: His aunt has been found dead in Paradise, Florida.
A picture-perfect town on Florida's Gulf Coast, Paradise thrives on the wealthy tourists and retirees drawn to its gorgeous weather and beaches. The local police have ruled his aunt's death an unfortunate, tragic accident. But just before she died, she mailed a letter to Puller's father, telling him that beneath its beautiful veneer, Paradise is not all it seems to be.
What Puller finds convinces him that his aunt's death was no accident . . . and that the palm trees and sandy beaches of Paradise may hide a conspiracy so shocking that some will go to unthinkable lengths to make sure the truth is never revealed. -- Hachette Audio
I pretty sure that I wouldn't have picked up THE FORGOTTEN by David Baldacci just based on the book's description. It sounded like a "guy's" book to me and very different from his other books that I've enjoyed. However, I do like to listen to suspense/thriller audio books while I run; and this one was getting some pretty positive reviews.
In THE FORGOTTEN, Army Special Agent John Puller decides that something isn't quite right about the death of his elderly aunt. He travels to Paradise, FL, his aunt's hometown, to investigate. Despite being a tourist destination where vacationers go to relax and catch some rays, Paradise doesn't live up to its name. Some individuals in this small town have some very dark and serious secrets. As Puller delves into the events surrounding his aunt's death, he begins to uncover some shocking events which threaten to destroy many people's lives.
I liked THE FORGOTTEN but I definitely didn't love it. It was one of those novels that I didn't dread reading, but I didn't find myself rushing back to listen to it either. For the most part, I thought the story was a very good one and I was most definitely kept guessing; however, there were times when I thought the story dragged. I guess I'm saying that the novel was just okay for me.
As I suspected from the description, THE FORGOTTEN was more of a guy's book to me, filled with lots of action and adventure, so I suspect that it might appeal more to men than women. (I do like the occasional suspense book with action scenes, so I probably shouldn't stereotype like that!) The main character Puller was definitely a "manly man" albeit very likable. I did appreciate his character and his dedication to the cause, but I still felt like he was a bit of a stranger to me. I'm sure that's part of his mystique, although I wonder if reading ZERO DAY first would have made a difference.
The strength of this novel to me was the mystery itself. I really enjoyed following Puller's investigation and even the smaller crime that he discovered. However, it was the major one -- the one which references the title "The Forgotten" -- that I found to be extremely interesting. I don't want to give too much away, but I was shocked to realize what what going on in Paradise; and I enjoyed that I was kept guessing by who was a good guy (or girl) and who was bad!
As far as audio books go, THE FORGOTTEN was a pretty good one. It was read by Ron McLarty, with some help from Orlagh Cassidy. Mr. McLarty narrated the majority of the novel, and Ms. Cassidy served as all of the female voices. I thought they both did a nice job with the variety of characters and accents. My only issue with this audio book was the special effects. It's probably just me, but I'm not a huge fan of audio books having shots and blasts and splashes (and even blood gushing -- I think) to make the action scenes more real. I don't need to hear them to get the gist when I read a traditional book, nor do I need to hear them when I listen to an audio book.
Overall, THE FORGOTTEN was a decent novel. It won't go down as one of my favorites by Mr. Baldacci, but it did manage to entertain me and even surprise me a few times!
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this audio book.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.