Memory Man by David Baldacci is the first of a new series featuring protagonist, Amos Decker. Amos was knocked out cold in a college football game 20 years ago, waking up with a perfect memory and the ability to see numbers and scenes as colours. After learning to adjust to his new skills, he returns home, joins the police force and rises to detective rank. The story begins with Amos at a low level; 18 months ago his wife and child were murdered, killer unknown. He contemplates suicide but is talked out of it by his police colleagues. He has resigned from the force and is working as a private investigator, living out of a motel room. The local high school, his high school, is the scene of a mass shooting, with the same gun used to kill his wife.
Baldacci’s novels follow a procedure. Sole protagonist, not 100% perfect, driven to find justice, reluctantly accepts help from strangers/soon to become reliable friends, killer(s) caught, justice found. It’s easy to acknowledge that David has written 30 bestselling novels to date, often making the New York Times Best Seller lists. For this reviewer, the key to his success is that he is a very good character writer. From the very first chapter, one is drawn to the protagonist – their pain, suffering, loss, fond memories. In almost all of David’s novels, the protagonist is not perfect, either physically or psychologically, yet learns to let in other people to help find justice. And the other characters are not perfect either, yet all learn to work as a team, managing each other’s unintentional failings.
At 403 pages in length, the conclusion comes after a long winding path involving the FBI. As with Balbacci’s other works, this is a satisfying story and recommended for those who like thrillers.
The sequel “The Last Mile” is due in April 2016.