Sunday, December 18, 2011

Zero Day on my Lucky Day

Review of the new David Baldacci by @mrneil98

For those would have followed my recent posts, I was quite perturbed that Baldacci’s new release Zero Day, as well as the new Crichton, Micro, were listed at the “special” price of $14.99 for Nook and Kindle. Two weeks after their release the price dropped to the regular (but still too high) $12.99. I refused to purchase either book at either price, feeling manipulated by the publisher.

So last Saturday, while attending my local library’s semiannual book sale, I was surprised to see a copy of Zero Day resting on a shelf called “Lucky Day”. This section contains hot new releases that may be checked out for only seven days, cannot be renewed and have a $.25 a day late charge. I guess it was my lucky day, as I snatched the copy and made for the checkout counter. I had seven days to read the book for free.

It only took four. Zero Day is a quick read, well written and fast paced, full of interesting people and places that may seem familiar. Although John Puller is a new Baldacci central hero, he has many elements similar to his other characters Shaw (from Deliver Us From Evil) and Oliver Stone (From the Camel Club series). Still the comparison I found myself making most was with Jack Reacher from the Lee Child series.

Although elements were familiar, Baldacci is a very talented writer and is able to make even the familiar seem fresh and exciting. The story involves Puller, a Military criminal investigator, looking into the murder of a family in rural West Virginia. The locale, Drake, is perhaps the most interesting twist in the story and the part that reminded me the most of the travels and exploits of Jack Reacher. Puller hooks up with the town sheriff, a woman, and begins to realize that in small towns everyone is connected in some way.

While there are many twists in typical Baldacci fashion, I was drawn to the Puller’s relationship with his father, a military hero suffering from dementia, and his brother, serving life in prison for treason. The novel left the details of both of these relationship mostly untold, to be uncovered in later episodes of the series.

Is Zero Day worth the cost? For me it was, but it was my lucky day. If you are a Baldacci fan, you will not be disappointed. If you are new to him, this is not a bad place to start, with all new characters in a brand new series. If you want a trial, I would recommend Camel Club, the first in the Oliver Stone series to see if it is to your liking. For me, I am intrigued with Puller’s potential and look forward to the continuation of the series, especially to find out more about his father and brother.

Special Note: James Rollins will be annoucing the title of his next Sigma thriller at midnight PST on 12/20/11. The novel is tentatively scheduled for release June 26th, 2012. Stay tuned for updates.

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