The #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci introduces an unforgettable new character: Archer, a straight-talking former World War II soldier fresh out of prison for a crime he didn't commit.
It's 1949. When war veteran Aloysius Archer is released from Carderock Prison, he is sent to Poca City on parole with a short list of do's and a much longer list of don'ts: do report regularly to his parole officer, don't go to bars, certainly don't drink alcohol, do get a job--and don't ever associate with loose women.
The small town quickly proves more complicated and dangerous than Archer's years serving in the war or his time in jail. Within a single night, his search for gainful employment--and a stiff drink--leads him to a local bar, where he is hired for what seems like a simple job: to collect a debt owed to a powerful local businessman, Hank Pittleman.
Soon Archer discovers that recovering the debt won't be so easy. The indebted man has a furious grudge against Hank and refuses to pay; Hank's clever mistress has her own designs on Archer; and both Hank and Archer's stern parole officer, Miss Crabtree, are keeping a sharp eye on him.
When a murder takes place right under Archer's nose, police suspicions rise against the ex-convict, and Archer realizes that the crime could send him right back to prison . . . if he doesn't use every skill in his arsenal to track down the real killer.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
David Baldacci tries his hand at an old-fashioned hard-boiled noir, and it fits him like a custom-tailored trench coat. It’s 1949 when World War II vet Aloysius Archer lands in the small Southern town of Poca City after a prison stint for a crime he didn’t commit. Within hours, he’s caught in a feud between two local businessmen; after he becomes the prime suspect in a murder, he’s forced to hunt for the real killer to stay out of the slammer. Archer’s a classic wounded-but-tough loner, and he deals with a rogue’s gallery of heels and dames—including his sexy parole officer—with quick quips and ready fists. Baldacci’s take on postwar America feels surprisingly fresh. He maintains the white-knuckle pace right through the explosive courtroom climax.
Riveting storyline and likable characters make this a fast-paced read that will keep you guessing. Really enjoyed the author’s ability to capture the spirit of the post-WWII American south.
There Great book! This is an unusual entry for this author.
There is no Atlee Pine in this book. I enjoyed seeing Archer “become” someone so unexpected. I like being fooled to the very end of a book. This book is so much more than the ordinary “I just have to figure it out before” novel. Highly recommended!
I was expecting detective Shaw to show up in court when Mr. Archer was defending himself. Otherwise I learned a great deal about the criminal justice system.