Thursday, November 24, 2011

David Baldacci's Zero Day

Zero Day by David Baldacci

The blurb:
John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Division.  His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison.  Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.

Now Puller is called out on a case in a remote, rural area in West Virginia and country from any military outpost.  Someone has stumbled onto a brutal crime scene, a family slaughtered.  The local homicide detective, a headstrong woman with personal demons of her own, joins forces with Puller in the investigation.  As Puller digs through deception after deception, he realizes that absolutely nothing he's seen in this small town, and no one in it, is what it seems.  Facing a potential conspiracy that reaches far beyond the hills of West Virginia, he is one man on the hunt for justice against an overwhelming force.

Zero Day is the first in David Baldacci's newest series with introducing John Puller, an Army investigator with larger than life strength and skills.   John Puller, reminds me a bit of one of my favorite detective heroes,  Lee Child's Jack Reacher.  There are obvious similarities between the two. Both are large, exceptionally strong and powerful men -- likely in the top 1 percentile in physical strength.  Both are well trained investigators with a strong sense of justice. They have faith in their country even as the people and institutions that they trust and rely on let them down.  They are both highly decorated soldiers -- just the type that the Army needs and wants to promote.

Neither John Puller nor Jack Reacher are interested in becoming generals or career officers.  They are disillusioned by the Army and they respond in different ways.   While Reacher leaves the U.S. Army to travel the world without a suitcase, John Puller has strong ties.  Remember that Reacher refuses to be tied down by a home, family, mortgage or even a suitcase and a change of clothes.    Instead he buys something new and disposable each time.  In contrast, John Puller  -- he has been shaped by his father and his brother.  The two most important men in his life were highly respected and decorated Army men.  And while Puller's brother is now in prison for treason and his father the two star general is suffering from dementia, Puller spends time with both of them every week.

Puller conducts both the investigative work and the CSI work when he handles an Army investigation.  As Puller performs these investigations for the Army, he works within the system and is deeply sensitive to its hierarchy and bureaucracy.   Puller faces greater restraints than Reacher  as he follows the government's strict rules, but Puller respects these constraints and shows his ability to read a situation and the people around him. Puller has a strong moral center - and it comes out in the best possible way.  Puller is the sort of detective hero that you can't help but root for. 

In Zero Day, David Baldacci introduces a new hero and an investigator that will surely capture the hearts of readers everywhere.  John Puller is on my top ten list of investigators - can't wait until the next Jack Puller adventure.

ISBN-10: 0446573019 Hardcover $27.99
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 31, 2011), 448 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
David Baldacci
is one of the world's favorite storytellers. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with over 110 million copies in print.  David Baldacci is also the cofounder along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America.  Still a resident of his native Virginia, he can be found at and his foundation at  and to look into its program to spread books across America at

1 comment:

  1. This is a superb police procedural filled with a twist that takes a local rural homicide investigation spinning it into international waters as only David Baldacci can do and make it feel real. Puller is terrific as the agent holding the story line together.