Bought At: Tesco
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Crime Thriller
Date Read: 30/07/2016
Special Agent Will Robie left his hometown in Mississippi when he was a teenager. Its resident remembers him as a wild sports star and girl magnet. He left a lot of hearts broken and a lot of people angry. Now, over twenty years later, he’s back. His estranged father, Dan, who is the local judge, has been arrested for murder and Will wonders if it’s time to try to heal old wounds. A lot of bad blood has flowed between father and son, but his fellow agent, Jessica Reel, persuades him to stick around and confront his demons. Then another murder changes everything, and stone – cold killer Robie will finally have to come to grips with his toughest assignment of all. His family.
A little bit of story time is necessary before I review this book. Yes, allow me to tell the story of how 12-year-old Mahmoudat fell in love with crime thriller books! I’ve loved reading from a very young age, but the state that I lived in while in Nigeria did not have a library or at least one that was open -the building was just there for decoration purposes! My main supplier then was my Dad who bought me books when he travelled back from Lagos. And when I started secondary school one of my classmates who partially lived in London used to lend me his Jacqueline Wilson books. Aged 12 I moved to London, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the joy and ecstasy that I felt when I walked into the school library on my first day in Year 8 as I saw the amount of books on the shelves. I feel water in my eyes right now!
I was right where I belonged, and I read like crazy throughout secondary school. Had to make up for all the lost years! Anyway, it just so happens that the first book I picked on the day was Michael Connelly’s book, and I remember reading three of his books that week. Then I started reading books by Robert Crais, James Patterson, and eventually David Baldacci and haven’t stopped ever since. The basic moral of this story is that I feel slightly biased whenever I review books by any of the authors listed above because I have a sweet spot for them. Now we can get onto the actual book review that you all came here to read.
I am a big fan of the Will Robie series, and ‘The Guilty’ is by far my favourite! This is the fourth book in the series, but I haven’t been reading them chronologically and realised when I bought this book that the numbers are stated on them. How have I not seen it before? Without a doubt, this is the most invested that I’ve been in the story of the main protagonist of a crime novel, and that’s significant because I’ve read a lot of crime novels. The main plotline concerns Will Robie’s father who has been arrested for murder, but it’s a very complex story with several multi-layered characters; which is one of the strengths of the book. The sub characters weren’t just fillers, all of them had interesting and engaging narratives that contributed to the plot.
I particularly love the strong female characters throughout the novel especially Jessica Reel, who is Will Robie’s partner and saviour in crucial instances in the book. The characters of the female antagonists/ villains were well written, and my favourite sub character has to be Emma Chisum (the young daughter of a Pastor involved in one of the murders) who has quite a few laugh out loud comedic moments in the book. Also, I love that the setting of the book – Mississipi, a Southern US State – allows the author to write candidly about societal issues such as racism in an astute manner. I was pleasantly surprised to read occasional insightful criticisms of society through the main character of Will Robie. The narrative that shapes the book revolves mostly around dark issues – can’t expect anything less with crime thriller books- but David Baldacci masterfully presents the tragic elements of human stories through various characters. And there’s a beauty to the way he portrays the complexity of relationships in the dynamics between different characters especially that of Will Robie and his father, Dan Robie.
The climax of the novel was one of those ‘I need to close this book so I can regain my life composure’ moments but despite the well-built suspense throughout the novel, I felt that the resolution could have been slightly neater for a writer of David Baldacci’s caliber. Hence why the book is not getting a five-star rating from me.
“Lawyers were really good at taking your words, twisting them around, and firing them back at you. Robie used bullets to kill. This man used nouns, verbs and the occasional adjective to do the same.” – The Guilty by David Baldacci
4 STARS —– Absolutely loved reading the book and I would recommend it!
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section if you’ve read the book.