Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery

Book Review: Walk the Wire (By David Baldacci)

Walk the Wire is Book #6 in David Baldacci’s Amos Decker series. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews on the Amos Decker books, you already know that he’s one of my favorite literary characters – a decent person who is just trying his best against the odds he’s facing. Ever since his introduction in Memory Man, I’ve followed his story arc dedicatedly. In fact, I even completed the Will Robie and Jessica Reel series prior to reading Walk the Wire because those characters make an appearance in this one.

So did Book #6 meet expectations? Read on to find out.

Genre: 

Crime fiction

Length: 

422 pages

Blurb:

Amos Decker and his partner, Alex Jamison, are sent to London, North Dakota to solve the murder of a young woman. The victim was perfectly autopsied before being dumped in the open. Decker and Jamison have no idea why they were sent in to investigate a single local murder. But what they find is a thriving fracking town with its share of oddities. A mysterious government facility, home of a local religious sect, and a business rivalry that stretches into the past are a few of the things skewing the investigation. And things only get more complicated when Jamison and Decker learn that the victim was a schoolteacher by day, and a prostitute by night. As they persevere in their pursuit of the truth, Jamison and Decker find themselves in graver danger than ever before. Will assistance from an unexpected ally keep them safe? Or is the truth larger and more dangerous than any of them could ever imagine?

Overall Rating:

3 out of 10 stars

Plot:

3 out of 10 stars

Characterization:

4 out of 10 stars

Primary Element:

3 out of 10 for its suspense and mystery, not because it didn’t have any, but because whether it did or not is made irrelevant.

Writing Style:

5 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is Book #6 in the Amos Decker series.

Highlighted Takeaway:

Walk the Wire does an excellent job (and by far the best I’ve seen) in absolutely ruining an incredible character and their story arc.

What I Liked:

It had Amos Decker, who I (still) like. But only because there are a few (very, very few) sections that do justice to the character you’ve come to appreciate.

What I Didn’t Like:

Okay… There are quite a few things here, so let’s make a list.

  1. The story is just all over the place. While multiple angles is often common in Baldacci’s work, Walk the Wire had so many things going on that it began to feel like additional angles were only added in because the main story had limited depth.
  2. The main story had limited depth. It was something that probably seemed like a good mystery at some point, but had little in the way of suspense and intrigue, leading to a weak premise and the need for so many tangents.
  3. Did David Baldacci really write this? I’ve mention in my past reviews on Baldacci’s more recent works that it’s increasingly seeming like he’s relying on ghostwriters. And the style, pace, unnecessary tangents, and weak premise of Walk the Wire make it seem like this is no different.
  4. Whoever wrote it did not know Amos Decker. The (beloved) character is anything but himself. You could literally replace him with anyone – known or unknown – and have the same result. Occasionally, whoever wrote this book seemed to remember what made Decker interesting; they then wrote some basic paragraph about him, and went back to forgetting about his capabilities.
  5. Writing style was just blah. In spite of so much going on, including a potentially intriguing murder mystery, the writing style was too blah to evoke any interest. It took some effort to keep reading.
  6. The cringe dialog. Sometimes, “cool” dialog can be fun. But if you’re going to use the same line and same situation for a character’s “cool and heroic” entry every time, it’s going to become pointless. And that’s what happens with the Reel and Robie angle.

Who Should Read It:

If you’re terribly bored and have read every other book there is, then (and only then) would I recommend reading Walk the Wire. And this holds true even if you’ve read other books in the Amos Decker series.

Who Should Avoid:

If you’ve not read the Decker series before, don’t let this one be your starting point. If you’re a big Baldacci fan, avoid this one. It might have his name, but it has nothing else of his style. And if you’re a fan of the Memory Man, avoid Walk the Wire. It adds nothing to the series and actually manages to completely ruin an amazing character.

Read It For:

Passing time that you should probably spend reading something better. Even the extended Robie and Reel cameos do nothing to save it.

I am physically upset that David Baldacci ruined Amos Decker as a character with Walk the Wire. If you’re a fan of the series, I would recommend stopping at Book #5. You won’t get anything new from the sixth instalment.

Walk the Wire also led to the end of my fandom with Baldacci. I may still finish the John Puller and Atlee Pine series, which I began a while ago, only because I want to see how their continued arcs end. But, it’ll be a while before I get to them (while praying that their characters haven’t been ruined by Baldacci).

Let me know your thoughts on David Baldacci and his works in the comments below. And as always, thank you for stopping at The Book Review Station and reading this review.

– Rishika

Author:

Author and Book Lover

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