Book Review: The Forgotten, by David Baldacci

I will begin by saying Happy Mother’s Day to all the women out there working hard and raising their children. Or, I guess by this point it’s more appropriate to say I hope you’ve had a great Mother’s Day.
Read a piece I wrote a few years ago entitled Reflections on My Mother about the great work she did in bringing up and caring for her family. There were definitely a lot of us!
As he often does, David Baldacci explores the ties among family members and the lengths one will go in order to ensure those members are treated fairly. This novel continues to follow John Puller, an officer in the US military who likes to chase down leads and conduct somewhat off-the-books investigations in different parts of the country. While it is a sort of sequel to Zero Day, I would say that one need not have read the former to enjoy this book. It might make things clearer though, as Puller constantly mulls over “the events of West Virginia” the context of which you wouldn’t understand without having read that.
Having been given time to convalesce from those events, Puller suddenly receives a letter from his Aunt in Florida. He’d not connected with her in years, but saw her as a valuable part of his upbringing and one who gave sound advice and was always there to talk to.
She writes that certain happenings in the town of Paradise are concerning her, and wonders if perhaps he could look into things. By the time he arrives on the scene, she has apparently met her demise due to suspicious causes.
The story is told from a third-person perspective but mostly from Puller’s point of view. As in Zero Day, Puller interacts with his father John Puller SR., who is dealing with increasing Alzheimer’s disease that leads him to believe he is still conducting battles as a high-ranking army general. The relationship between father and son is moving, although I think too much mention is given to the fact that Puller the son is just going along with this painful game because he doesn’t know how to break the real news to Puller father. The reader pretty much gets the point after the first two references.
Also as in zero Day, a dynamic that seems to be leading toward romantic connection is developing between Puller and the main female cop in Paradise: Cheryl Landry. I am not entirely certain if that will happen though, due to the fact that I’m only a little less than halfway through the novel.
I feel safe in recommending this book, as long as you can deal with a fair amount of violence and loss of life. It’s a good, easy read that I’ve mixed in among the myriad other books I’m working my way through as well. If only I could read while on the job!
I think I may have read more Baldacci than I have almost everyone else. I like his ability to so widely vary his styles, though I imagine that makes him hard to categorize as family-friendly vs. more adult-oriented. I suppose this challenge can be mitigated by doing what one should anyway: vetting the book before allowing young ones to be exposed to it. In any event, I’ve not been let down by any of his works that I have chosen to check out.

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