Sunday, May 31, 2015

Review: Memory Man by David Baldacci

There seems to be no shortage of the troubled hero who's family is brutally murdered in the worse way. Yes, these characters make for an interesting story... at first. It's no secret that this hero can often be redundant, boring, and overdone. David Baldacci attempt to break this mold by introducing us to Amos Decker with an unusual ability to remember everything. I mean EVERYTHING!

Memory Man begins with Decker, then a detective for the stumbling upon the brutal, senseless murder of his brother-in-law, wife, and daughter. After this devastating time, Decker slowly tries to begin his life again as a private detective. Long gone are the days on the Burlington police force... that is until a man named Sebastian Leopold confesses to the murder of his family. 

As if that isn't enough, there seems to be new murders and massacres that all point to having something to do with Amos Decker. There seems to be a cat and mouse game the the other players in this novel can't keep up with. Honestly, I couldn't keep up either. Memory Man is a fast moving title, but it also seemed a little too fast and under developed.

Before I get into what I didn't like about this novel, I will say that I consider myself a fan of David Baldacci although I've only read one other novel by him. I was especially excited to begin reading Memory Man. It begins in graphic detail of a heinous murder which is always a plus. It also provides insight into the mind of a man who has decided to choose between life and death after his world is taken away from him. For the first few chapters I was engrossed in Amos Decker's story. 

Baldacci gave the tortured hero more depth than others. Sure, he's socially awkward, emotionally detached, and pretty much struggling to hold things together. What's remarkable about Amos is that after being a delivered a career-ending blow to the head in the NFL, he "suffers" from hyperthymesia. For those who wonder what that is here ya go: It's a near-perfect recall of one's personal or autobiographical past. Imagine never forgetting a thing that happens to you. Like Monk says, it's a gift and it's a curse.

Yes, Amos Decker is interesting but not interesting enough to ignore that the other characters in this novel, besides the maniac on the loose, are totally forgettable. They struggle to keep up with Decker and it's painfully obvious. While Decker deciphers clue after clue (yes I know they were intended for him), it is so annoying that no one else can provide much insight. They just seemed to be going along with the motions and following Decker's lead. Since it seems this is the beginning of another recurring series, I want more of a reason to continue to invest my time in this series. This novel did none of that. I expected way more from Baldacci.

In conclusion, I wasn't too impressed with Memory Man but it wasn't awful. I would definitely read more by David Baldacci but I need more from his characters in the next Amos Decker novels. I understand there was a need to lay down the foundation for this tortured soul, but... if memory serves me correctly, I know Baldacci has better in him.  **

Copy provided by Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley

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