The Forgotten (Puller, Book #2)
by David Baldacci
Release Date: November 20th, 2012
2012 Grand Central Publishing
Hardcover Edition; 422 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Suspense
3.5 / 5 Stars
Army Special Agent John
Puller is the best there is. A combat veteran, Puller is the man the
U.S. Army relies on to investigate the toughest crimes facing the
nation. Now he has a new case-but this time, the crime is personal: His
aunt has been found dead in Paradise, Florida.
town on Florida's Gulf Coast, Paradise thrives on the wealthy tourists
and retirees drawn to its gorgeous weather and beaches. The local police
have ruled his aunt's death an unfortunate, tragic accident. But just
before she died, she mailed a letter to Puller's father, telling him
that beneath its beautiful veneer, Paradise is not all it seems to be.
Puller finds convinces him that his aunt's death was no accident . . .
and that the palm trees and sandy beaches of Paradise may hide a
conspiracy so shocking that some will go to unthinkable lengths to make
sure the truth is never revealed.
The Forgotten is the the second book in the series featuring Army Special Agent John Puller. I haven't read the first one in this series, Zero Day, but that didn't seem to hurt my background knowledge while reading this one, even with references to events in Virginia, so it definitely could be read as a stand alone novel. And while I thought this novel was quite entertaining and fun, it was also a bit formulaic and repetitive, and I found that it was quite easy to predict the 'big' surprises.
Throughout the novel I wasn't quite sure what to think of John Puller. Oh, don't get me wrong. I liked his character very much and enjoyed his exploits as he took out the 'enemy' and hunted down the people who went after his death, but at the same time I didn't always find him to be a character that was easy to get to know and really pull for. There were those moments however, when I thought I finally understand what motivated this man and was going to learn a bit more about his background, then that door would be slammed shut and the action would continue on as before. I'm really hoping that this will be an area that will be further explored in future books as I feel that his life was very interesting and could be meshed in with his current life very well.
As Puller investigates, he does manage to antagonize several people on the police force who are not really happy that he there investigating things on his own. And as he seems to have attracted trouble wherever he goes, as the body count rises, Puller seems to be in the midst of all the action which doesn't sit well with the local police either. As events become more complicated, and the police become more accommodating, he runs into unexpected allies and this is when things become very interesting. One of the things I liked about this novel was the writing style and the set-up with its short chapters and quick action. Very few scenes and events were drawn out, which helped move the novel along, creating a lot of excitement and fun. This could also be seen as a criticism however, depending how one looks at it, as in this format you don't really get to know the characters very well, and there is little character development. It depends on what you prefer. I didn't mind the short chapters, but like I mentioned before, I felt that I personally didn't get enough information about the characters and felt starved for more.
The Forgotten was interesting and I enjoyed it very much. It was your standard David Baldacci novel, with a mystery that unraveled slowly, revealing information as you went along, letting you believe one thing while it is actually about another thing. Anyone who has ready many Baldacci novels will probably no longer fall into those traps as they tend to be pretty predictable and formulaic, and I found the twists easy to spot. I did however, enjoy John Puller very much, as well as Mecho, one of Puller's surprising allies in this one, one whom I hope to see again, and I am looking forward to reading another novel featuring this character. I will also be reading Zero Day as soon as I am able.