Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read this book pre-publication date. Set not long after the end of World War David Baldacci is introducing us to a new character - Archer. I have read a number of David's books and experienced a range of his characters and I don't think Archer is going to be one of my favourites. I found the book a bit plodding in style and very slow to capture my imagination. The skeleton of the story is OK but there is just so much literary padding around it that it takes a long time to reach anywhere....a bit like Archer it must be said ! I hope Baldacci puts this outing down to experience and returns with the characters and style we have come to look forward too !
David Baldacci usually writes contemporary thrillers but this new book is set in post World War 2 America. As is the case in all his books there is a lead protagonist , a bit of a loner/ outsider, who investigates a mystery, in this case it is ex-con Aloyisius Archer who turns up in Poca City on his release from gaol. He is directed to meet with his parole officer, Ernestine Crabtree, but gets caught up with a feud between two local businessmen when he pops into the local bar and Hank Pittleman pays him to collect a debt from his rival. Being short of money, Archer agrees to do this and this decision leads him into all sorts of trouble. Archer is attracted to both Jackie, Pittleman’s mistress and also Ernestine Crabtree and the reader spends the book wondering if he will end up with either of them and if Jackie, in particular, is just using him for her own purposes. However when a murder occurs and Archer is implicated he decides to help the lead Detective Shaw to investigate in order to clear his name. There is a lot of description and period detail in this book. The author seems to want to describe exactly what all the characters are wearing, presumably so that the reader can picture the said characters. Sometimes there is slightly too much of this and, in my opinion, it really does slows down the plot. “ He wore a threadbare single breasted brown victory suit with peak lapels.” I particularly liked Archer who seemed to have made a couple of wrong decisions and ended up in jail for a crime he did not commit. There was a lot about his time in the army and this helps him bond with Detective Shaw who is also ex military. This is slightly different from Baldaccci’s previous novels and once I had got used to the historical setting and slower pace, I found it an interesting read which picked up as the novel progressed. I was left wondering at the end whether Aloyisius Archer was going to be featuring in another book as it had the feeling of a possible first in a series rather than a stand alone. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my arc in exchange for an honest review.
Aloysius Archer is a good man, or at least he tries to be. He is also an ex-con sent to an out of the way southern town to wait out his parole. By the time he has been there 24 hours he has way more trouble than he knows what to do with.
This is a brilliant 20th century historical crime novel with so much period authenticity you can picture it easily. Archer is an extremely likeable protagonist and, as you would expect from David Baldacci, all the other characters are well rounded and believable. It was also great to read a story where evidence had to be gathered without the assistance of social media, mobile phones or detailed forensic tests and then interpreted because of the expertise of those hopefully on the right side of the law.
I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and would recommend it to fans of David Baldacci, those who enjoy first class storytelling or want to begin an exciting journey with a stand alone novel from an expert at thriller writing.
Set in post war America in 1949, One Good Deed is a page turning mystery thriller. Our hero is Aloysius Archer, just released from prison for a crime he did not commit, a war hero serving his time in Europe during WW2. He is sent to Poca a town in a southern state to serve out his probation time, and so his adventure begins. Archer is a wonderful character, and as the book progresses you like him more and more, his humour and honesty shine through. This story is extremely evocative of the post war period with fabulous descriptions of the clothing, behaviour and dialogue. I felt as if I was in an old 40’s film, with perhaps James Cagney, Robert Mitchum and a host of other old film stars of that time. Others have written a full synopsis better than I, just let it take you along on this wonderful adventure with thrills and surprises aplenty, and the court case and ending......utterly brilliant. Basically a wonderful well written read. My thanks to net galley and publisher for the opportunity to review this book honestly.