The Guilty by David Baldacci

20170825_074858Do you have trauma in your past? When running away for twenty years doesn’t fix the anger sometimes you have to backtrack before you can go forward. This is the predicament CIA assassin Will Robie finds himself in. He must return to the town he left at 18 to help the father that caused him to run. He must solve the mystery plaguing a town he barely recognizes anymore with the help of people that don’t welcome strangers to clear his father of murder charges.

This is a very linear novel. It is told from a single point of view making it much easier to follow but also not as suspenseful as other novels when the reader knows more than the character, but that was okay because the shootouts and jarring breakthroughs in the case kept the pace of the story up.

I read a lot and I know stock characters that repeat through literature so I picked the killer about a hundred pages in and was right. I didn’t know exactly how all the loose ends were going to weave together at the end so I still found the novel to be engrossing although the reveal of the killer was no big shock. The clues were only lightly masked. I suspect that the killer’s monologue connecting all the evidence was designed to be the surprising event rather than the killer’s identity reveal. This furthers my impression this novel was more of a thriller than a suspense.

I feel like this book demonstrates small-town life excellently. My personal experience confirms there is no such thing as a secret in a small town, on social issues like race and gender equality they lag three decades behind the rest of the country.

I did not find the ending to be satisfying. When a character starts off looking for closure and answers to unfinished business I expect the journey to those answers will somehow lead to personal growth. I saw this character leaving the event and continuing on the same trajectory he started out on.

This book had a lot of perverse sexual content. Although not graphic it was still unsettling.

I did enjoy this book but it lacks some of the elements that I value such as suspense and personal growth for a character. This was my first David Baldacci novel and I may not be his demographic. I would definitely read him again but his books probably won’t get bumped to the top of my to-read pile. For me, it is a 3/5 because it doesn’t fit my tastes.

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