Plot summary (from the publisher): 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.
Warning: Spoilers below!
- The pacing was pretty good in this one. Some Baldacci novels have a tendency to include boring, unnecessary scenes, but everything here served to move the plot along nicely.
- I’m glad Julie Carson survived. I’m beginning to like her more than I like Puller, and hope she appears more frequently in subsequent installments.
- I have to admit I didn’t see the twist about the female cop (I already forgot her name) being Lambert’s conspirator. I assumed (as I’m sure Baldacci intended) that it was the incompetent op or the police chief, so give the author points for that one.
- I hated the whole trope about not using names for characters so that they come off as more “mysterious” or something. We didn’t learn Mecho’s name until near the end of the book, and instead had to read about him as “the man” or “the big man.” That is so dumb!
- What is the deal with Baldacci’s physical descriptions?? For the men, they all consist of height and weight only! Sorry, that’s not enough to help me picture a character in my head. Would a little more effort here be too much to ask?
- Ugh, more females throwing themselves at Puller. Is this going to happen in every single book of the series? Let’s just hope the Carson thing lasts a while so we don’t have to endure Baldacci’s attempts at writing “sexual tension.”
- The action scenes at the end felt way over the top. They were long, drawn-out, and of course featured the good guys overcoming crazy odds. Puller, as usual, was a superman whose fighting and shooting performance didn’t suffer at all despite taking a bullet along the way. Instead, it was a woman (Julie) who ended up in the hospital at the end. Oh, please.
- The author didn’t do much to put a human identity on the victims of the trafficking operation. That part of the story was very vague and had no sense of urgency about it. There was no ticking bomb here.
Well, at first I was interested in this series because the lead character is an Army CID officer. But now it doesn’t even look like his investigations will involve the army, soldiers, or anything else related to the military, so what’s the point of bringing up Puller’s rank and credentials all the time? This book, while a quick read, wasn’t particularly entertaining, which is why I give it just 2 stars out of 5.