Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Memory Man by David Baldacci

  • ISBN-10: 1455559822 - Hardcover $28
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition / First Printing edition (April 21, 2015), 416 pages.
  • Series: Amos Decker series
  • Review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.

The blurb:
Amos Decker's life changed forever--twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect--he can never forget anything.

The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare--his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.
His family destroyed, their killer's identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.

But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

While I've enjoyed David Baldacci's thrillers, this first novel in the Amos Decker series is my favorite.  It's partly because we're introduced to a former detective that's been damaged by the world.  The alcoholic, haunted detective is a familiar character, but in Amos Decker we have a man whose dreams of playing professional sports was battered out of him. He dies twice on the field and the blunt force trauma has affected his brain. It's left him able to recall everything that he comes across, the information is available for him to access should he realize where to look.  The tradeoff is that he's lost much of his brain's emotional skills, such as the ability to empathize, pick up social cues, and put up with bullshit.  

Amos Decker picked himself up from the loss of his old self and life and worked to become a police officer and detective. He proved to be exceptional as a detective until the night that his wife and daughter were brutally murdered.  This was the tragedy that he couldn't recover from.  His particular abilities left him with the inability to escape the horrors of their deaths - the brutal details would not fade from his mind.  His grief and loss led him to lose everything - his home, his old job, his life.  He slowly moves back to self-sufficiency just as there's a break in the investigation in his family's murders.  

As Amos Decker maneuvers a way to meet the possible killer, there is a burst of crime in his small town.  He's invited to help the police - and though he's lost much, he discovers that his abilities can be called back.  Soon, he dives into the investigation, spotting clues and coincidences that others do not. His skills and his pain make him an exceptional detective and Memory Man a gripping read.

About the Author:
David Baldacci is a global #1 bestselling author. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, and have been adapted for both feature film and television. David Baldacci is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America. Still a resident of his native Virginia, he invites you to visit him at and his foundation at

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