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The Last Mile


The Last Mile

In MEMORY MAN, David Baldacci introduced his readers to one of the most unique protagonists seen in thriller fiction. Amos Decker had an extremely short-lived NFL career --- just one play. During the opening kickoff, he received a traumatic blow to his head that caused a rare condition. Rather than suffering the debilitating effect of post-concussive syndrome, he had his brain rewired to give him impeccable memory while severely impacting his socialization skills.

It's no wonder in THE LAST MILE that Decker, now a special task force member for the FBI, jumps at the opportunity to help out a former collegiate football star who also saw his promising NFL career derailed. In the case of Melvin Mars, after being a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and sure first-round NFL pick, he was arrested for the murder of his parents. He has spent 20 years --- half of his life --- in prison and is now in his final hours on death row before his execution.

The efforts of Decker and the FBI task force allow for Mars to receive a last-moment reprieve mere hours before his execution. It seems that another imprisoned man has confessed to the murder of Mars’ parents, and this is more than enough for the investigation to be reopened. Mars cannot believe that he has been saved a trip to the death chamber, or the last mile, as it was so aptly referred to at his penitentiary.

"Baldacci's fertile imagination and intricate plotting abilities make each of his books a treat for thriller readers. THE LAST MILE is no exception."

Meanwhile, Decker has been seeking another opportunity for redemption --- a feeling he experienced after avenging the brutal murder of his wife and daughter. Having an indelible memory is a daily prison cell when you are unable to escape the vision of seeing your loved one's slaughtered bodies every single waking moment. Perhaps in Mars, he can ease his own pain a bit more by saving someone else's life.

The man who came forward with the confession that temporarily freed Mars, Charles Montgomery, is a brutal and remorseless killer who welcomes his own execution. He even selected the electric chair for the special brand of sadism that form of capital punishment presents. Montgomery is executed, and his wife Regina, through a carefully purchased life insurance policy, becomes a very wealthy woman. Unfortunately, she does not have much of an opportunity to enjoy it as she herself is murdered shortly after the execution.

This leaves Decker, his task force and Mars reeling. They are able to find evidence that points to the fact that Montgomery was paid off to make his confession, which is supported by the quick silencing of Regina. Now the goal is to find out who was behind this entire conspiracy and why. The truth will take everyone deep into Mars' past, and all of them will quickly learn that nothing is what it appears to be with his family history.

As the team continues to dig, they unearth a long-standing series of crimes attributed to a trio of powerful fat cats who refer to themselves as The Three Musketeers. They may be responsible for the bombing of a church and an NAACP office during the height of the civil rights era, and could very well be the cause of Mars’ predicament. No one will be prepared for just how far the reach is for these three dangerous men, as Decker and company are all targeted for elimination.

David Baldacci has always been a top-notch thriller writer both in stand-alone novels and his many recurring series. For the past several years, he also has been one of the most prolific thriller authors, often penning upwards of four bestsellers a year. In the hands of a lesser writer, this much writing might become thin or diluted. However, Baldacci's fertile imagination and intricate plotting abilities make each of his books a treat for thriller readers. THE LAST MILE is no exception.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on April 21, 2016

The Last Mile
by David Baldacci

  • Publication Date: September 13, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455586463
  • ISBN-13: 9781455586462