Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Last Mile by David Baldacci

The Last Mile by David Baldacci

Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution--for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier--when he's granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.

Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars's case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men's families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.

The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars--guilty or not--a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?

But when a member of Decker's team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger--and more sinister--than just one convicted criminal's life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed.

My Thoughts:

Oh, boy. Let me preface this review: First, I have a copy of this book but I chose to listen to the audio version. The narration of the story was very, very, good. Now on to the story.

Last year I reviewed the first book in the Amos Decker Series, Memory Man (review here) and I really enjoyed the grittier character. Flawed but human. So I was very excited to get my hands on this one and see where Amos Decker's new life was going to lead me.

The Last Mile gave me more than I expected but probably not in the best way-or the way I hoped for.  Melvin Mars is convicted of killing his parents and is on death row-hours from his execution when something happens. Changes. Someone else confesses to the murders.

In true Baldacci form, the writing is excellent. In fact, there were several times I laughed aloud at great one-liners. The characters are dimensional and real. Sometimes a little too real. And here's where the story disappointed. I understand there are times where foul language is necessary or expected. I'm married to a soldier, believe me I've heard most of it when walking on post (thankfully not from my husband-or at least not in my presence). And I understand that not everyone who speaks uses G-rated language. However, this story pushed my tolerance. Specifically in regards to the female anatomy. I found it unnecessary the number of times this word (y'all can use your imagination) was used throughout the story. In fact, it was disturbing that the term and a foreign translation of the word was actually part of the plot.

Since I'm not new to Baldacci I've come to expect that there will be some foul language in his books and I usually ignore them. But this time I couldn't. To me, the word is offensive. And whether the language is reflective of who the character is or where he comes from I don't believe it's absolutely necessary. There are so many other ways a character can be defined but excessive use of a particular vulgar word is weak. And when I think of words that are offensive to others I wonder what the reaction would be if they saw those words repeated over and over in a book?? Does characterization justify it? I don't think so.

The plot is good. Compelling. Amos Decker is still a favorite character but I would've liked to see the relationship between him and Alexandra (Alex) Jamison develop further.

Favorite Lines: There's one in which Jamison stocks Decker's kitchen with healthy food to which he describes one of the cereals looking like "Squirrel poop"

If you're a fan of Baldacci you'll probably enjoy this novel. While the story and characters are well-done, the language is what dropped my rating down a star.

***When I reviewed Memory Man I left a note for readers under 18 warning of the violence and I'll do the same here in regards to the language. I'm sure many young adults hear far worse in their hallways than they'll read in this book but I'm of the mind that if I have to hear it in the real world why do I have to read it in a book??

To purchase your copy of The Last Mile click HERE

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