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“The Fallen” by David Baldacci, Grand Central Publishing, $29.00

John Baron discovered a rich vein of coal. So he mined it and became hugely wealthy. Very quickly a town grew up around the mine, called Baronville. More wealth begat more riches as John Baron expanded his financial interests. He built a great mansion overlooking the town and owned most of it.

Two generations later, the mansion is a wreck and the sole survivor, John Baron II, is the grandson, living in poverty in a tiny portion of the home. Now come the murders and our hero, Alex Decker, the Memory Man, is in the midst of another horrific case.

Decker is an FBI special agent who came with his partner, Alex Jamison, to visit her sister’s family in Baronville. Decker can never forget anything after a football injury to his head tangled up his brain. Baldacci has written several books about this unlikely hero who seems to always get into atrocious situations.

The original John Baron had so much money that he was unable (or unwilling) to spend it all, and everyone knew there was a vast treasure to be found. But where is it?

Now people are after the treasure, and they know the grandson doesn’t have it, because he can barely survive on what he has. There are six unsolved murders in the town, and our detectives are anxious to protect Jamison’s family, especially since the latest murder took place next door to them.

Another interesting character in this tale is 6-year-old Zoe, niece to Jamison. Zoe and Decker immediately connect, and she becomes a big reason Decker won’t let the bad guys alone. He must protect the little one, who is amazingly mature.

There is a page full of the titles of all the novels that Baldacci has written in the front of this book. The publisher notes that his books are “published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with over 130 million worldwide sales.” Golly.

If you are a Baldacci fan, grab this one. If you haven’t read him before, you are in for a treat.

Francis Moul PhD, Lincoln, hasn’t read all of Baldacci’s books, but he is well on the way.


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