Memory Man by David Baldacci (Audio Book) Narrated by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy

Memory ManReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Amos Decker died twice on the football field in his first and last professional game, but was revived both times. As a result, Amos sees numbers as colors, sees people’s moods as colors and literally remembers everything. The remembering everything served him well as a cop until his own family was slaughtered in their home. Amos wasn’t able to recover from his grief and his life quickly slid downhill.

When the audio book begins in what I assume was a prologue in the print editions, readers are with Decker as he finds his family murdered. It is a very moving and graphically brutal description. From there, the book moves forward 16 months and after Amos has lost everything-his family, his job and really his sanity he is trying to pull himself back up. He’s living in a motel room and working as a PI. And then his world is turned upside down when Sebastian Leopold walks into the police station and confesses to the murder of Decker’s family. He slowly manages to worm his way into or at least on the peripheral of the investigation. By complete happenstance, his efforts to talk to the suspect finds him at the police headquarters the same morning that a mass shooting takes place at the local high school. The saying once a cop always a cop holds true and before long Amos starts thinking about the shooting and how it could have been pulled off.

I have mixed feelings on this book. I loved the book and see this as the first in a new series, but it is very different from what regular readers of the Baldacci’s books in a more political setting expect, and not really at all like the stand alones either. I’m wondering how it will be received by people picking it up with “Baldacci” expectations.

I also have a couple of thoughts on this as an audio book. I listened to this book on a road trip so there were very few interruptions along the way which proved to be important. The two crimes are each complex with many twists and the book has many characters. Without a print version to flip back through I would think it would be difficult to follow what was going on if there were too many interruptions or any lengthy interruption listening during the book. Secondly, I listened to the unabridged version. There are these sort of odd passages where the narrator’s voice is slightly different. It took my husband and I a couple of discs to figure out that the book had first been recorded in an abridged format and then the excluded passages put back in for the unabridged version-or at least that is what we decided since the “off-voice” parts all seemed to be more descriptive passages than plot important ones.

I really liked Amos Decker as a protagonist and look forward to his next case. I would highly recommend this book as an audio but only if the book is going to be listened to with few interruptions such as a road trip. If the idea is to listen to it one disc at a time, then get the print version instead.

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