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Thursday, August 3, 2017

No Man's Land by David Baldacci (John Puller #4)

No Man's Land (John Puller, #4)No Man's Land by David Baldacci

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:
Two men. Thirty years.

John Puller's mother, Jackie, vanished thirty years ago from Fort Monroe, Virginia, when Puller was just a boy. Paul Rogers has been in prison for ten years. But twenty years before that, he was at Fort Monroe. One night three decades ago, Puller's and Rogers' worlds collided with devastating results, and the truth has been buried ever since.

Until now.

Military investigators, armed with a letter from a friend of Jackie's, arrive in the hospital room of Puller's father--a legendary three-star now sinking into dementia--and reveal that Puller Sr. has been accused of murdering Jackie.

Aided by his brother Robert Puller, an Air Force major, and Veronica Knox, who works for a shadowy U.S. intelligence organization, Puller begins a journey that will take him into his own past, to find the truth about his mother.

Paul Rogers' time is running out. With the clock ticking, he begins his own journey, one that will take him across the country to the place where all his troubles began: a mysterious building on the grounds of Fort Monroe. There, thirty years ago, the man Rogers had once been vanished too, and was replaced with a monster. And now the monster wants revenge. And the only person standing in his way is John Puller.

Read as an audio book.

They changed the narrator between book three and book four! ARRRGGH!

Premise of the book is Jackie Puller went missing 30 years ago, a mystery or crime that was never solved. Now, 30 years later, John Puller Jr. is given a letter to read from a former neighbor, accusing John Puller Sr. of murdering his wife. What comes to light, is Puller Sr. was actually stateside the day his wife went missing, not overseas like everyone previously thought. As John starts to investigate the disappearance of his Mother, he begins realize there is a bigger, more dangerous threat behind everything he thought was true.

This is classic John Puller/David Baldacci plot. Something small and innocuous slowly begins to blossom into a somewhat implausible, slightly over the top conspiracy. And darn if I don't enjoy it anyway.

Things that made me roll my eyes - the antagonist was one heck of a nasty woman. Almost too much so. This is where some questionable plausibility started to creep in.

The author continues to spell out exactly what kind of weapon Puller pulls out when in a confrontation. I still don't need it described every. single. time. Just say "Puller pulled out his gun/service pistol/weapon/etc and move on, please.

Given the grief Robert gave John at the beginning of the plot, I didn't get quite the resolution between the two I had hoped for: as in Robert admitting he was wrong when telling John he should back off the case.

Things I appreciated in this book: Puller didn't automatically fall into bed with Veronica when she shows up on his proverbial doorstep. *She* walked away from him, and he's still a bit resentful about that. This wasn't something resolved even half way through the book and I liked that tension between Knox and Puller.

Not every one who is bad, is actually a bad guy. I enjoyed Paul Roger's character a lot - a conflicted, abused, military secret who's trying to stay under the radar and mostly succeeds.

The antagonist is one heck of a nasty woman, not something you find in military mystery thrillers all that often.

Robert is back as a strong, but distant, supporting character.

Puller makes mistakes and I appreciate seeing that written into the story (won't give away particulars), what's even better is he admits when he makes a mistake - he's not a super CID officer, he's just very good at what he does.

John Puller Sr. getting to hear his wife's voice again made my eyes a bit moist. Well written. Bravo!

Overall, I thought this was a very enjoyable and engaging commute read. Recommended if you've read the first three in the series.

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