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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Last Mile

Series: Amos Decker #2

ISBN: 1455566020 Publisher: Grand Central

Publication Date: 4/19/2016

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars + + Top Books of 2016

In his #1 New York Times bestseller Memory Man, David Baldacci introduced the extraordinary detective Amos Decker-the man who can forget nothing. Now, Decker returns in a spectacular new thriller . . . THE LAST MILE

Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution--for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier--when he's granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.

Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars's case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men's families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth. The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars--guilty or not--a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?

But when a member of Decker's team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger--and more sinister--than just one convicted criminal's life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed

My Review

David Baldacci returns following (2015) Memory Man, landing on my Top 10 Books of 2015 where we met an unforgettable man, Amos Decker. A former pro football player, turned police detective in Burlington, Vermont- Now with the FBI in Virginia. In THE LAST MILE (#2 Amos Decker) the hero,FBI detective, meets a man on death row- with more in common with his own past than he could ever imagine. Amos Decker suffers from hyperthymesia, also known as piking or hyperthymestic syndrome--a condition in which an individual possesses a superior autobiographical memory, the ability to recall the vast majority of personal experiences and events in his life. Hence, The Memory Man, from a former brain injury. He has solved the mystery of the murders of his family in Ohio, and still struggles with his past. Presently, he is on his way east to Texas, as part of a new FBI task force to look at cold cases. He learns of a black man, a legendary college football player, an NFL draft pick, he knew in his past football years---until, his career came to an end, when he was convicted of a violent crime. The double murder of his parents in the small Texas town. This man’s past is shockingly close to Decker's own--he is intrigued. Melvin Mars was a rising football star in the small Texas southern town. A black mother and white father was murdered. He has been sitting in prison with all his appeals denied. Now twenty years later, he is on death row, close to The Last Mile. The walk from prison cell to the death chamber. Was this man wrongly convicted? Down to the wire, Mars receives the news—someone else has stepped up and confessed to the crime. Why now? Is this man the real killer? If not, and the one sitting in jail is innocent—who is the real killer? Why free someone now after twenty years? Mars is afraid they will think he paid this man. Decker’s boss, Special Agent Ross Bogart and the new team consists of, a journalist, Alexandria Jamison; a clinical psychologist, Lisa Davenport; and Todd Milligan, FBI agent. Mars, also hangs out with Decker to delve deeper into the past. Someone has something to hide. Deadly secrets. A man on Alabama death row, Charles Montgomery has confessed. If he was going to die anyway, is there a payoff, a motive? This man is an estranged father to a high school son, also a football star, being raised by a single mom in Alabama. Who wanted Mars out of prison and why? Decker suspects someone else is controlling this scenario. A bigger picture, more evil and sinister. Parallels with the two stories, surrounded by intense suspense and intrigue. Amos takes risks and will not allow anyone to stand in his way to find truth and justice. Other events occur, adding more layers and danger. What if Mars has to go back to prison? When a member of Decker’s team goes missing, Decker has to put his powers to the test, to solve this mystery before someone else dies. Where nothing is as it appears. Baldacci comes back strong after his bestselling Amos Decker #1 with an entertaining and highly emotional whodunit old fashioned mystery! Plenty of shockers and well-developed characters, an offbeat hero, desperately seeking redemption for Mars, (sharing the limelight) with a past very similar to his own. Mars wants to follow in Decker’s footsteps, with his own agenda of paying it forward. Multi-layered, compelling, and infused with Southern football, racial injustice, an age-old complex conspiracy, involving the evil masterminds of the three musketeers—with some innovative detective work and wit. Fans will love the Decker/ Mars relationship (hope we see more of these two in the future). First, if you have not read Memory Man. Stop here, and jump over and meet one of the author’s most creative and amazing characters. You will appreciate #2 after learning the background, even though the author fills in the blanks. Second, if you prefer audio versus the book, or a combo of both—you are going to love Kyf Brewer (sexy—could listen to him all day) with Orlagh Cassidy (awesome as always, for the female voices). I always pre-order the audio, for the enhanced experience! As always, when you are dealing with Southern states, settings, and characters, (Alabama, Mississippi, Texas) mixed with dirty politics, greed, wealth, corruption,racism, and injustice—combined with football obsession---there is a multi-layered story of dark secrets and scandal to be uncovered. Rich in Southern atmosphere, a taste of John Grisham, John Hart, and Greg Iles with the interweaving of dark crimes, lies, and secrets both past and present—mixed with Baldacci’s own trademark style—making for a highly recommended read--an action packed "31st" thriller!

Review Links:


Audio Format ASIN: B01ATTRBUI Hachette Audio Narrators: Kyf Brewer, Orlagh Cassidy

Memory Man

Amos Decker #1

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 31 novels for adults, all of which have been national and international bestsellers; 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. David has also published five novels for younger readers, including the #1 bestseller THE FINISHER, which is in development for feature film.

David received his Bachelor's degree 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. Read More






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