Review Blog

Apr 24 2020

Walk the Wire by David Baldacci

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Macmillan, 2020. ISBN: 9781509874521.
(Age: senior secondary/adult) Amos Decker and Alex Jamison have no idea why the FBI has sent them to London North Dakota. On the surface they are investigating a murder, but why is the FBI involved? London is in the middle of no where a boom and bust town now enjoying another boom due to oil extraction by fracking.
The murder is unusual in that the body, discovered by a hunter, has been autopsied and dumped. Decker and Jamison work with the local police lieutenant Joe Kelly and the funeral home owner who is also the coroner. The powers that be in London have been there a long time and know the important people, and that certainly does not include the oil workers who come and go, but spend their money in the town. Two wealthy men own almost all worth owning; Dawson is in control of bars, hotels and apartments used by workers and McClellan who has the lions share of the fracking business
Add to the mix an old US Air Force installation, now privately run but with an Air Force officer in charge, the reader gets an inkling as to why there may be involvement with federal agencies. Despite the body count Decker and Jamison seem no closer to understanding what is going on. As leads are followed and people questioned anyone with answers dies. Another federal agency is involved clandestinely along with some highly trained and well armed mercenaries but surprisingly as the body count continues to rise none of the populace seem to notice!
The Air Force base has unusual goings on, some of which are noticed by the religious cult that farms next to it, but they keep to themselves and the wider community are none the wiser. However Decker eventually gets to the bottom of the history of the base and why there are problems and why it is being run by a private company.
The murders in London which may have no connection to the base require the agents to go back to first principles. There is a lot of money involved, greed, and love, albeit obsessive love. These lead them back to the main players,the old London families, and their interactions and prejudices and grudges.
For those who enjoy the genre, especially the Amos Decker series of which this is the sixth, I've no doubt this will be tried and true territory. I found the most interesting aspects to be the fracking information, the religious cult and North Dakota itself. The characters are rather stereotypical, either tall muscular and lantern jawed if male or slender willowy and beautiful if female. The plot is rather unbelievable, but then again it is The United States. Themes: Crime fiction, USA, FBI, Fracking, North Dakota (USA).
Mark Knight

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