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David Baldacci's Long Shadows

David Baldacci starts his novel “Long Shadows” with a tragic event witnessed by Amos Decker, a consultant for the FBI. The event is painful for Decker since it involves a former partner, and he hears it over the phone and is helpless to do anything about it.

However, that event is not the central story of the novel. The central story is a murder of a judge and her bodyguard in South Florida. The FBI assigns Decker to the case. His boss matches Decker up with a new partner for the case, Special Agent Frederica “Freddie” White. Neither one of them is happy to be teamed up with the other, making for a personal conflict and adding interest for the reader.

Decker is a large man, a former football player for Cleveland. A traumatic head injury in a game cut his career short but gives him perfect recall. It’s a handy thing for an investigator to have. He also sees blinding electric blue when around a dead person. That’s not so handy. He sees several dead people.

However, Decker’s “superpower,” as he calls his perfect memory, while handy, is not essential to the plot. And what a plot it is. The killing of a judge who tried terrible criminals may seem like an unfortunate risk of the job. But nothing is what it seems. Decker and White peel back layer after layer of the case, keeping the reader waiting for another shoe to drop. Decker continues to come up with plausible theories that explain everything except for one or two items that make no sense at all. For example, why was the bodyguard’s throat stuffed with obsolete Slovak currency?

Baldacci’s “Long Shadows” is entertaining from beginning to end.


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