Book Review: The Forgotten by David Baldacci

Posted on November 12, 2012


  The Forgotten

David Baldacci

John Puller 2





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.

A picture-perfect 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.

What 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.


David Baldacci has quite a lengthy portfolio of published work, generally in the thriller, suspense fields. By the description of this novel’s blurb, it appeared to have enough of a speculative element to warrant reviewing here at awriter. As it happens, the speculative element was not quite what I expected but a review is warranted nonetheless.

As is to be expected from someone with his number of published novels and large world-wide sales, Baldacci has a writing style suited to this suspenseful thriller style of story. It has a crisp pace and keeps the pages turning, which is the important thing in such a story.

What I did not like was the way in which he plotted the key resolution during the story’s climax. A twist is to be expected in this sort of story. But a sudden denouncement of the previously unsuspected baddie via a revelatory speech which declares ‘what you didn’t know is I have done this and that,’ is a pretty tired old ploy. It is the thriller version of the western’s ‘head them off at the pass’ scenario. For me, it undid a lot of the preceding good work.

We learn right from the outset that some form of dealing or trading in human beings is going on. What I found difficult to accept was the sheer volume of this that was occurring in secret, unknown and unsuspected snatching of people from all over the place, including the USA. However a setup has been created for a future story involving one the forces behind that trade which could prove quite interesting.

Considering Baldacci’s CV, those choices in narrative tools disappointed me as I probably expected better, hence my feeling of dissatisfaction.

Don’t get me wrong – this is still a page-turner. And I am sure that fans of Baldacci will still enjoy it. But it is probably not the best novel to be introduced to Baldacci.

Posted in: Review