The Forgotten by David Baldacci

The Forgotten Reviewed by Allen Hott

It appears that Mr. Baldacci has replaced his Camel Club assortment of characters for at least one new recurring character. I say new which isn’t true because Army Special Agent John Puller was first on the scene in Zero Day and Baldacci also introduced a new one (Will Robie) in The Innocent. So perhaps he is only trying to expand his field of characters so that he can build sequences for his readers to enjoy. And they do!

In The Forgotten John Puller is called by his brother who is serving time in a military prison for supposed treason. His brother tells him that their father, a retired Army General, who is in a Veterans Hospital, has received some sort of a troubling letter. The administrators are not sure what is in the letter as the old man who is suffering from dementia and depression will not allow anyone to see it but they felt the family should look into it.

When John gets there the old man shows him the letter which is from John’s aunt (the old man’s sister) and she is upset about some recent happenings in Paradise Florida where she lives. She asked the old man if he would have John come down and use his investigating skills. John tells the old man he will check it out and heads off to visit his aunt. She was his favorite when he was growing up because she always had time for him and would not only listen to him but also give him good advice.

Upon his arrival at her home he finds it locked up and in looking around the back yard he sees some unusual signs to his trained eyes. Before he can do much a police cruiser pulls up and two cops jump out and “unofficially” arrest him. They tell him that the lady who lived in the house (they don’t believe as yet that she is John’s aunt) drowned in the small pool in the back yard. They take him for questioning and he gets off to a rocky start with the Chief of Police but they quickly resolve their differences.

In a subplot recently a huge gentleman from another country had come ashore after jumping from an abandoned oil rig which was a temporary home for many of The Forgotten. He was swimming not so much for his freedom but for his own investigation and possible revenge.

Baldacci using his exceptional writing talents brings together these two men as he tells a story of the slave trade that exists in the world today. Many of us believe that slavery is no longer and especially not in the United States but that is not true. There are those who look to make a profit in any fashion that they can and selling live bodies works well for them.

The writing is quick and mostly straight forward although it does seem that in places Baldacci tends to stray from the story to do a little preaching or giving his views on right and wrong. But overall it is another great story and surely leads up to another featuring John Puller.

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