Today’s Mystery is the third in Baldacci‘s The Memory Man series and the first I’ve read. It can easily be read as a standalone but now that I’ve read it, I want to go back and read the first two as Decker is a fascinating character. I’d like to know more of his background and how he ends up working for the FBI in Washington, D.C. from starting out as a cop in Burlington, Ohio. In this mystery, he’s part of a team working on cold cases but just as that’s about to change, Decker is witness to a murder/suicide right outside the Hoover Building as he’s heading into work.
Since Decker is a witness, he and his team become part of the investigation despite being warned off by DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) agent Harper Brown. In addition to team head Bogart and another longtime agent Mulligan is Alex Jamison, a former journalist and Decker’s partner and one of his best friends. Melvin Mars is his other best friend and Decker’s team is responsible for his release from prison (in a previous book) after 20 years inside for a crime he hadn’t committed. With the huge settlement Mars received, he’s had Alex find him a property in an area where occupants might need a helping hand — she is to be landlord while Decker takes on security. They occupy the top floor with separate sleeping arrangements but a common living area and an office for each of them. It seems the perfect set-up until complications arise with one of the tenants.
Walter Dabney seems to have the perfect life: mansion in an elite area, self-built company dealing with government contracts, devoted wife, grown children, and no apparent connection to his victim. Anne Berkshire, substitute teacher and volunteer at a hospice, was perhaps in the wrong place at the wrong time. Until the team tries to look into her past. Something, many things, don’t add up.
Decker’s “special talents” arising from a football injury are caused by synesthesia and hyperthymesia — he sees death as the colour blue and he can’t forget anything. For him, even things from the far past that he’d rather forget are seen by him as if they’ve just happened. A mixed blessing in his line of work. He’s not the same person he was before, social skills are lost, empathy is almost non-existent, and at times, he’s not sure who he is.
Baldacci is a master of suspense. With few clues, dead ends, inexplicable contradictions in lifestyle, unexpected enemies, subterfuge, safe rooms, lack of cooperation, a second murder, a little boy dying of leukemia, kidnappings, and construction fraud, the murder/suicide makes no sense until the very end. A definite page-turner with many surprises along the way. And is it possible that Decker might be starting to forget small things? Looking forward to reading the first two books in this series soon and following the rest of it. The Fix is a thoroughly enjoyable read. * * * * *
Other books in the Memory Man series:
Memory Man – book 1
The Last Mile – book 2
The Fallen – book 4
Redemption – book 5
Walk the Wire – book 6
If you, too, are a fan of mysteries, I hope you’ll not only enjoy my Monday posts but will contribute by publishing your own Monday Mystery, mention my meme, then come to my blog, comment on your mystery (or mine) briefly, and include the link directly to your mystery review. You can also copy my MMM badge to your post or your sidebar. (Links to books are Amazon affiliate links!)