When cop-turned-attorney John Fiske comes to Washington to investigate his brother's murder, he unearths decades-old secrets and discovers the truth is anything but simple in this #1 New York Times bestselling thriller.
It's never what it seems...
Young attorney Michael Fiske broke the law when he took Rufus Harms's prison letter from the Supreme Court. But he also sealed his own fate. Suddenly everyone who has anything to do with Harms or his appeal mysteriously dies. Now Michael's brother John, a cop turned attorney, comes to Washington to find out why his brother was murdered--and what it had to do with a crime that Harms committed twenty-five years before. But the one man who can help John, the one man who knows what really happened more than two decades ago--and why--has escaped from prison and is running for his life.
It's a truism that readers who like Grisham's novels often take to Baldacci's, but never has Baldacci's debt to the more veteran author been so evident as in this strong-boned thriller that features the Grishamesque premise of young lawyers who uncover a conspiracy reaching into the U.S. Supreme Court. Baldacci isn't as smooth a writer as Grisham: he'll hop point of view in mid-scene, and the opening sentence of this novel, at least as presented in the review galley, is a run-on. But for foxy plotting, Baldacci is easily Grisham's peer, and his characters are always captivating. Here, the principals are Rufus Harms, a slow-witted black giant who, after decades in a military prison, realizes that, for reasons revealed only at the novel's end, he is morally innocent of the murder for which he's doing time; John Fiske, a cop-turned-lawyer who's drawn into Harms's quest for justice after his younger brother, a Supreme Court clerk interested in Harms's case, is murdered; and Sara Evans, another Supreme Court clerk who joins forces and beds with Fiske. Plenty of cinema-ready action ensues as Harms, aided by his Vietnam vet brother, escapes from prison and Fiske and Sara try to get to him before the conspirators who put Harms behind bars do. The novel's resolution is predictable, however. This isn't Baldacci's most original book, but it's his most generously textured, distinguished by thoughtful delvings into family psychodramatics (of both the Fiske and Harms clans), a nicely rendered romance between two tentative lovers and, adding a welcome and strong backdrop of authenticity to the outlandish turns of events, vivid detailing of the Supreme Court behind closed doors where the truth, apparently, is anything but simple. 500,000 first printing; BOMC main selection; simultaneous TimeWarner audio.
The Simple Truth
Great book. Lost sleep over it because I had a hard time putting it down!