Death row reprieve leads to intrigue

June 23, 2017
By

The Last Mile, by David Baldacci (Macmillan, RRP $37.99)

Melvin Mars sits in a cell, awaiting execution for the brutal murder of his parents two decades. However, just hours before he is scheduled to die, he is granted an unexpected reprieve when someone else confesses to the crime.

In this second “Memory Man” book to feature Amos Decker, he is now the latest member of the FBI special task force and takes a personal interest in the Melvin Mars case after noticing the similarities to events in his own life: both he and Mars were talented football players with careers cut short by tragedy, both lost their families in brutal murders, and in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime.

Ex-detective Decker suffered a life changing head injury when he played professional football as a young man and the injury resulted in an unexpected side effect: a phenomenal memory. After losing his wife and daughter in a murder two years earlier, he struggled to get his life back under control and eventually lost his job, his home and his self-respect.

However, a double shooting at a local school brought him back into the fold when his special skills are needed to help find the killer and the investigation reveals that the weapon was the same one used to kill his family.

In this sequel, Decker’s memory skills are tested to the limit.

The suspect who confessed to the murder of Mars’ parents may or may not have been telling the truth, and the question is who wants Mars out of jail, and why?

A member of Decker’s team disappears and it becomes clear that something much more sinister than just one convicted criminal’s life hangs in the balance.

A cracking good read that was intriguing from the first page to the last and it’s refreshing to have a lead character who is flawed enough to be believably human.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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