Read of the Week

One Good Deed

David Baldacci

Pan Macmillan

Review: Voox Sonandzi

One Good Deed is one of David Baldacci’s finest books in which he powerfully portrays a post World War II world though a hardened character, Aloysius Archer.

War veteran Archer is released on parole in 1949 and sent to the dusty Southern town of Poca City with nothing but a handful of dollars, the clothes he’s wearing and an appointment with his new parole officer.

After his wartime experiences in Italy and a prison sentence for a crime he didn’t commit, Archer is looking for a fresh start and a peaceful life.

This book represents Baldacci’s move into historical crime and unsurprisingly, the talented author proves to be as adept in this new venture as he is in his contemporary-set novels.

On arrival in Poca City, Archer meets a local tycoon, Hank Pittleman, who hires him as debt collector with a handsome compensation offer.

Soon Archer discovers that recovering the debt won’t be that easy.

The indebted man, Lucas Tuttleman, has a grudge against Pittleman and refuses to pay.

Pittleman’s clever mistress has her own designs on Archer, and both Pittleman and Archer’s stern parole officer, Miss Crabtree, are keeping a sharp eye on him.

The job sees Archer getting embroiled in long-standing feuds between the town’s most dangerous citizens. It becomes a bloody game played above and below the law with too many unexpected twists and turns.

Stunned by the turn of events, Archer finds he’s caught up in something far bigger than he initially realised, and when a dead body turns up due to his poking around, he knows that one wrong move could land him right back in prison, or worse . . . a shallow grave.

This emboldens Archer to uncover deeply buried secrets to clear his name, while still being under parole restrictions.

Baldacci continues to churn out must-read thrillers. One Good Deed reads more like a mystery or crime thriller, taking on a slightly darker and grittier tone than his readers have come to expect.

Baldacci’s latest character, Archer, is one of his better heroes so far and should anchor what looks like an exciting new franchise for years to come.