Mercy (Atlee Pine No. 4)- David Baldacci

David Baldacci’s Atlee Pine series was engrossing enough that I grabbed each of the books the minute they came out. I don’t know if this is the last entry. Atlee Pine is an FBI agent who, throughout this series, is on leave from work to look for her twin sister Mercy. She is joined by her assistant, Carol Blum, an older woman who has worked for the FBI forever and who is a dear friend and mother figure for Atlee. When the twins were six, a man kidnapped Mercy and attempted to murder Atlee after choosing between them by the old child’s rhyme, “eenie meenie, minie, moe.” As the series develops, it becomes clear that neither sister “won” and we follow through the books the devastating impact on Atlee, who uncovers slowly the terrible outcome of this kidnapping for her sister. The characters are interesting and sympathetic and, as to Atlee and some others larger than life. This fourth book in the series was rather violent. introduced some terrific villains as well as people who were passive villains, i.e., who failed to do the “right” thing in the face of evil and danger to other people. Atlee and Carol are exposed to serious danger when their search for Mercy puts them in the path of a very disturbed man with both a personal grudge against one dear to them and a grudge against the US government. This story is violent at times, engrossing at times, moving at times and altogether entertaining. I would say that the level of disbelief I had to suspend was rather large for this book as some of the turns it took seemed outlandish, but certainly they were consistent with the outlandish characters and, sadly, with things we all observe in the news. You just don’t WANT to believe in such evil. Baldacci is consistent in his writing, creative with his plots; is “fair” in that he develops the stories with proper clues for us; he provides plenty of support to explain the craziness of some characters and how some can win against great odds; and his depictions of scenes and predicaments are very visual. I never regret reading a Baldacci thriller.

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