The Guilty by David Baldacci


Reviewed by Allen Hott

Quite a beginning to this one as Will Robie, a professional top-grade sniper for the CIA, is waiting to get off his shot at an intended target. Although he has been doing this for some time he never actually knows who the target is or why that person is the target. He only knows what his orders are and he has always obeyed and then fulfilled his orders.

This one turns out differently and changes Robie’s life drastically. Yes, his shot is perfect and he hits and kills his target. However as he looks on from his perch he notices that behind his target was a young girl who was completely covered by the target until the bullet went through the target and right into the little girl’s head killing her also!

Robie does get away from the shooting area but he can’t get over the feeling of what he has done. His supervisor understands and tries to help out by not only helping to console him but also by granting some time off so he can get hopefully back together and return to his position.

But as it turns out on his next assignment Robie doesn’t take the shot because he believes he sees a small boy on the scene. Turns out there was no boy and Robie’s supervisor definitely decides it is time to give him a break.

His supervisor also tells him that they have gotten word that Robie’s dad, Dan Robie, has been charged with murder down in Mississippi. At first Robie doesn’t seem to care as he and his dad have not spoken since Robie left Mississippi some years ago and they were never overly friendly or close. But Baldacci uses the murder, etc. to move the story not only to Mississippi but also to move the story into a truly great read.

It seems Robie left under strange conditions as he was supposedly very close to a girl, Laura Barksdale, and had no apparent reason to leave. But he didn’t get along with his father and that seems to still be on his mind as he comes back and reacquaints himself with the town and somewhat with some of the folks who lived there in his earlier days.

From there the story gets deeper and deeper as Robie tries to get more involved with his father and some kind of defense for him. It turns out that the Barksdales have also moved but there is still some kind of association with at least part of that family.

Among the major changes is the little step-brother that Robie has now as his father had remarried and is living in one of the highest-priced homes in town. Robie, his step-mother, and step-brother all seem to be getting along as Robie moves into the mansion with them.

But his return is only a good lead-in to the rest of the story as The Guilty brings in more characters, more action, and more reason to read than just about any other novel ever written by Baldacci or anyone else! Now is a good time to get a copy and try to follow along with all the action….you will be impressed!