Memory Man, a review by Joanna

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Memory Man

David Baldacci

Published 2015

Hachette Audio

13h 16m

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This is the first book in the Amos Decker thriller series, which currently comprises seven books. I’m a bit hit & miss with Baldacci – I’ve really enjoyed some of his characters, but find many of his plots to be beyond preposterous – this one sits somewhere in the middle. We listened to the audiobook in the car and my husband enjoyed it more than I did.

A former professional footballer turned detective with a rare ability, who hit rock bottom when his wife and child were murdered, is drawn into the investigation of a school shooting when a connection to his family’s case is uncovered.
This had a sympathetic lead protagonist in Decker – he’s gruff, embittered and out of shape, but with a strong moral code and work ethic, and his hyperthymesia, an exceedingly rare neurological condition, was an interesting hook. Where this fell down was in the actions and motivations of the killer – it all seemed very elaborate and implausible, with some cavernous plot holes, and when their identity is revealed, I just didn’t buy their reasons for the whole revenge spree. I also didn’t get the Insta-friendship with the reporter who’s just stitched Decker up, (her personality is so bland that I’ve forgotten her name already despite only finishing this last night) and that a loner like him would so readily take her on as a partner.
I struggled a bit with the audiobook – while I liked that there were male and female narrators for the relevant characters, the main actor’s voice kept changing, put pauses in strange parts of sentences, and kept unexpectedly dropping into first person when describing Decker’s thought processes – I’m guessing this would be clear in the written format, but with no change in delivery, it made the switches confusing. Despite all this, I’m keen to continue the series on the assumption that these get better – the ending sets up a scenario where Decker and Whatserface can go after multiple serial killers – hmm, maybe I won’t after all…

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