Review of ‘The Last Mile’

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Amos Decker has been hired by the FBI to become part of a special task force. The bureau wants him for his special ability, after a football injury his brain was rewired and he now has total recall. He can also see colors associated with numbers and emotions. On his way to Quantico, Virginia to join his new team, he hears a story on the radio about Melvin Mars, a man who has been on death row in Texas for two decades, convicted of killing his parents; and on the day of his scheduled execution, a prisoner on death row in Alabama confessed to the crime. Decker decides that he and his new team must look into this case; partly because he knew the young Mars when they were in college (Mars in Texas and Decker in Ohio), and played against each other, but mainly because of the similarity in their situations. Decker’s family was also killed, and much later someone confessed to the crime, and turned out not to be the real killer.

The Last Mile by David Baldacci is, in my view, Baldacci at his best. He follows Decker and his team from Virginia to Texas, and then on a whirlwind journey across the south in search of the truth. Decker believes that Mars was wrongly convicted, but he’s not convinced that the confessed killer in Alabama is guilty either. The question then becomes, if neither of them is guilty, who is? And, why did they let Mars rot in prison for twenty years only to save him at the last minute? And, why is someone gunning for Decker and his team?

Baldacci knows how to weave a tapestry of mystery and intrigue that will suck you in like a Kansas tornado, and then spit you out gasping in astonishment when the mystery is solved. The hero, Amos Decker, is not your usual thriller he-man. He’s getting old, overweight, and battling demons in the form of memories of finding his entire family slaughtered and being unable to forget even a single detail.

After reading this book you won’t have the power of the Memory Man, but I guarantee that you’ll never forget it.

I received this book as a gift.

I give it five stars.

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