I have been on a kick of reading mystery and thriller novels recently. I have found that I am able to get into the stories that much more and actually want to continue to read them. Since I read mostly on the subway and before bed, one of the big things I want to be able to do is finish my reading section on a hard chapter block. It makes me feel like I accomplished something and that I am not thinking about what is coming next as I am doing something else. When it comes to mysteries, I think David Baldacci is one of the best at a quick and simple chapter block. His chapters are normally between 1 and 6 minutes (per Kindle read time) and they let me finish in a subway ride or just pull down a chapter or two as I wind down at night. This led me to The Innocent.
The Innocent starts out simply enough by introducing us to a new character, United States Government assassin Will Robie. It takes us through a prologue assassination mission and then one more mission with a great set piece involving an aircraft hanger. (I think that would end up looking really cool in a well-done movie). These set pieces introduce us to how Will performs his job as one of the best and how he always has an exit plan in place even if things do not go his way initially. Character building in short, quick action-packed chapters which I always like. If you can build character and keep the action moving, I can guarantee I will not be putting down the book.
With the character building done, Will gets his next assignment. This kicks off the course of events in the novel. He is assigned to kill a government worker, but when he gets into her room Will discovers that she has a child in bed with her and is unable to shoot her. BUT then a sniper from across the way ends up putting a bullet through her and her young child, starting into action one of the novel's main mysteries: Who killed this woman?
On his escape route, Will ends up in a bus terminal and ready to take that to New York. One of the last passengers to get on the bus is a teenage girl who we already know from some previous chapters as a foster child who ran away from her foster parents after getting a note from her parents. She then witnessed them killed right in front of her with her mom saying at the end: "She doesn't know anything". She was followed onto the bus by a man who attempts to kill her and she is saved by Robie. They get off the bus, and soon after it explodes, intertwining their lives together.
From here the story takes us on an interesting weave through Robie not trusting any one, even the teenager (Julie), and working with the FBI to solve the crime he was meant to carry out. The interplay between Robie, Agent Vance of the FBI, and Julie highlighted well-written characters whose motivation you understood and questioned at the same time.
A great quick read, but a great introduction to a character I know is the start of a series.
Quick Review: 5 stars out of 5.