A hunter stumbles upon an already-autopsied body. A former FBI detective is on the case with his partner and goes to a town called London (not the English London). It's an unsophisticated, rough town, seeming to exist and survive because of fracking. 'It's like the Gold Rush of 1849, only on steroids.' Our hero further adds '...the ordinary rules of civilisation don't necessarily apply up here.' And so begins an investigation into the sordid goings on inside a town that attracts a whole host of unsavoury sorts. Plus a secret military base. Must not forget that.
Baldacci creates a complex case with plenty of potential suspects as the investigation takes on many issues, fracking being one of them. The victim has a mysterious past, which no doubt explains why an out-of-town detective team is called in as opposed to the local police force. Her identity, where and why why she died are far-reaching questions that make it virtually impossible for the reader to guess the outcome.
The plot is made clearer by the uncluttered and adjective-free narrative, so it is easy to follow. There are a few outdated tropes such as the strong, cold, lantern-jawed men and every woman being measured by her level of attractiveness, but generally the characters are quite well drawn. A clever technique is that he includes a couple of characters from his other books (and series) so adding that extra depth and hook. The dialogue is direct and plentiful; action and pace just right.
A great addition to the series of detective books. This story is much more than a simple whodunnit demonstrating the skill of the author, which in turn is reflected in David Baldacci's successful career.
Other books in the Amos Decker series: