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Memory Man

By David Baldacci 
Series: Amos Decker #1
ISBN: 1455589489
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date:  4/21/2015 
Format:  Other
My Rating:  5 Stars +
 
Top 10 Books of 2015 
Top Audiobook of 2015
 
With over 110 million copies of his novels in print, David Baldacci is one of the most widely read storytellers in the world. Now he introduces a startling, original new character: a man with perfect memory who must solve his own family's murder.
 
MEMORY MAN
Amos Decker's life changed forever--twice.
 
The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect--he can never forget anything. 
 
The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare--his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.His family destroyed, their killer's identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.
 
But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
 
MEMORY MAN will stay with you long after the turn of the final page.
 
 
My Review 
 
A special thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

David Baldacci is at the “top of this game”, with his 30th novel, delivering a riveting and absorbing new series. MEMORY MAN a flawed offbeat hero-Amos Decker, drawing you into his world of tragedy, loss, and complexity for hours of mind-blowing intensity. With a mix of crime, cop procedural, medical, psychological, and a multi-layered mystery thriller page-turner, you cannot put down--until you reach the words, “for just a little while.”

Amos Decker would forever remember all of their violent deaths in the most paralyzing shade of blue. He would never be free from it. The night when his life changed. Former Detective Amos Decker had been on a stakeout, driving home and walks in to his worst nightmare. Red. Blood. He discovers first a knife, second a gun; his brother-in-law, Johnny, throat split from ear to ear; his wife, Cassie, a single-entry gunshot in her forehead; and lastly, his precious daughter, Molly-not quite ten years old, death by strangulation. With nothing left. He cannot stay. His family is gone. He stares at his muzzle, ready to end his life, as he was not there to protect his family. As he stares at his muzzle ready to end his life, to die, and join his family; however, for some reason unknown even to him, Amos Decker does not pull the trigger and calls 911. 

In the months to come, he loses the house to foreclosure, as they were barely making the payments with his and Cassie’s salary. On his paycheck alone it was impossible. He tried to sell it; however, no one would buy a house covered in blood. He lived in an apartment for several months, then a motel, a friend’s couch to a homeless shelter, to a cardboard box in a Walmart parking lot, when he reaches rock bottom. Cassie and Molly would be ashamed. So he cleans himself up with some odd jobs and moved into the Residence Inn and hangs out his PI shingle. 

Amos has not had a simple life. A four-year-college football player, a professional for short stint, keeping fit as a cop and later a detective. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect—he can never forget anything. Amos Decker’s life changed forever—twice.

From that moment, Decker's brain shifted and he lost the ability to forget. The entire world became a myriad of colors and memories that he could easily access. With his new abilities, he's the perfect candidate to become a police detective. He can visit a crime scene once and walk through it over and over again in his mind, and he can remember verbatim testimony by a witness or suspect. Decker has hyperthymesia, an extremely rare condition that makes him unable to forget anything. Two decades after suffering the hit, the blow-- Decker's life is once again unraveling, with the murder of his wife, young daughter and brother-in-law. 

Months later, no suspects, and no one had been arrested for the murders of his family. A trail grown cold, and the odds of solving the case and catching the killer had dropped to near zero. He had left the police force, as he could no longer push paper, when he cared about nothing, except for “one thing”. Their deaths had to be connected with what he did; after all, he had put hundreds of people away over the years and some were out of prison now and they could have found him for revenge. But there was no scrap of evidence. No trial, No execution. His fault, His guilt.

Now, fifty pounds overweight, a bum knee, and a soft gut. However, he has never been normal since the “hit” the only thing he had never remembered. Ironically, since it was the catalyst for his “never forgetting” anything else. And even the national news felt the need to document the violence done to him, on YouTube. All he had done to deserve the folderol of attention was to die on a football field, not once, but twice. He could have been written up in scholarly journals and there could have been media and money, but he had not seen himself as a prodigy. He had seen himself as a freak and no longer able to watch sports. He was just a machine and some prick was taunting him, the monster who killed his family and and now could they be turning their rage on Mansfield High School? 

Three years later, Decker discovers a man has turned himself in to the police and confesses to the murders, and he comes up with a brilliant plan. (Loved this part). He pretends to be an attorney to get into the cell. He has talents and gifts and he will use them to uncover the truth. He has learn the truth - Is this the monster who killed his family? Too many holes in his story. This cannot be the man, but why is he confessing? In addition, at the same time another tragedy occurs in the same town of Burlington. A high school shooting.

What comes next is an intense fast-paced action mystery suspense of connecting the past, a football career, the time when he was recovering from the hit, a police career, a new school shooting, an army base - all of which may be connected to his family’s murders, and a decade-old plan of evil, murder, and revenge. Some awesome characters contribute with some human dynamics with Decker’s former partner, FBI agent, a reporter, and a fellow cop.

Wow, I have read every Baldacci series: John Puller, Will Robie, King & Maxwell, The Camel Club, The Shaw Series, and his many standalones, each being unique; however, MEMORY MAN is so captivating, from page one. (My favorite).  The author brilliantly sets up his character; he is humble, troubled, flawed, worn down, homeless and sharp. He can assist the authorities in ways no one else can. He had it all, and lost it all. Amos' tenacity, his gift, and his drive to find the killers, a humble hero on his journey to redemption – cleverly plotted. 

Amos Decker is a stand-out character leaving fans anxiously awaiting a second book, (let’s hope), as this one is just too damn good to be a standalone. I literally dropped my other ARCs, planning to read for a few hours; did not stop until I reached the end. 

Having already pre-ordered the audiobook, before receiving an advanced reading copy, had the double pleasure of enjoying both fascinating versions. As always, Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy delivers an outstanding performance!

If for some reason (cannot imagine), if you have never read David Baldacci, MEMORY MAN is a perfect place to start--your journey to being an avid fan, like the rest of us!
 
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About the Author

 

David Baldacci published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996. A major motion picture adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 29 novels; all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide. David has also published four novels for younger readers, including the #1 bestseller The Finisher, which is in development for feature film.

 

A lifelong Virginian, David received his Bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.  While David is involved with several philanthropic organizations, his greatest efforts are dedicated to his family’s Wish You Well Foundation®. Established by David and his wife, Michelle, the Wish You Well Foundation supports family and adult literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of literacy and educational programs. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and gently used books have been collected and distributed through food banks to families in need.  David and his family live in Virginia.   Website    Twitter   Goodreads

 

 

 

THE GUILTY

 

By: David Baldacci 
Series:  Will Robie #4 
ASIN: B00U6DNY5O
Publisher:  Grand Central 
Publication Date:11/17/2015 

5 Stars
 
Will Robie escaped his small Gulf Coast hometown of Cantrell, Mississippi, after high school, severing all personal ties, and never looked back. Not once. Not until the unimaginable occurs. His father, Dan Robie, has been arrested and charged with murder. Read More

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