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09 January, 2019

#DDSRecommends :: Memory Man (Amos Decker #1) by David Baldacci

Amos Decker's life changed forever--twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect--he can never forget anything.

The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare--his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.

His family destroyed, their killer's identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.

But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.


I have often picked up books that have been described as ‘riveting’ in their reviews. Sometimes they were really good and sometimes not.  But Memory Man by David Baldacci has been on my TBR list for quite a while and I finally got to it this year. This is what I call a ‘riveting’ book. It was compelling from the very beginning.

Amos Decker was a football player during his college years. After an injury on the field, his brain and his life in turn changed. He has a perfect memory and associates colours and numbers to people, things and situations. With his football career behind him, Amos Decker joined the police force and put his new found abilities to good use. So, it wasn’t a surprise that he climbed the ladder to earn a detective badge soon. Married to a supporting wife and a beautiful kid, his life was as good as it gets. Until… it wasn’t anymore. Amos lost his family to murder that wasn’t solved. It was sixteen months later that someone turned himself in for the murders and set the ball rolling. Soon bodies were dropping like flies and even with police and FBI on the case, they needed Amos. It seemed like the killer was always a step ahead and the only person who could have a shot at capturing the perpetrator was Amos Decker. But will it cost him his life?

I absolutely loved the character of Amos Decker. He is strong yet vulnerable. His memory is a superpower and a curse at the same time. He is still struggling with guilt and yet he is resolute about finding the killer. He felt very real with the varying characteristics of his personality. Most importantly, with the personal connection to the case in the book, he is a character you want to root for. I also loved the character of his partner, Lancaster. She is someone who is used to and has learnt to deal with Amos’s quirks. His social awkwardness doesn’t bother her and she has the beat on the mind that Amos has. Then there is the character of Alexandra Jamison who is another flawed personality. We see her as this cut throat journalist who will do anything to get to the latest news cycle. We also see her as a person who is ready to admit that she is wrong when she realizes it. We see the side of her that goes for the truth even when it threatens her life. Finally, there is Special Agent Bogart who understands Amos through his personal experience with a family member.

The author uses the first chapter to hook his readers by describing the scene where Amos returns home to find his family murdered. From there on it is one hell of a ride. Even though Amos has special abilities, we the readers are able to learn and discover aspects of the case along with Amos. There is a twist in every turn and each twist takes the story to a different level. With the climax bringing on one final twist just when we thought that we had it all figured out. Also, the antagonist was really intriguing. I could understand the person’s motivations and I would be lying if I said I wanted the person to be punished.  There is a dialogue by Amos where he asks his colleagues not to expect him to ‘fully blame’ the antagonist for the crimes. He says that he couldn’t and wouldn’t and at that point I was on the same page with Amos about it. 

The narrative of the story was spot on and I absolutely loved the book. With my current state of life, it was difficult to find time to sit and finish it in one sitting. But I picked up the book every time had even a moment… I just couldn’t let go till I was done. It was absolutely riveting!



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