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The Escape    by David Baldacci order for
by David Baldacci
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

We met Army Special Agent John Puller (my favorite of David Baldacci's many series characters) and his cat AWOL previously in Zero Day and The Forgotten. The elephant in the series (if you'll pardon the expression) was the issue of Puller's elder brother Robert, 'an expert in nuclear weaponry and cyber security' serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison.

Their tough father, General John Puller, was a legend in his time but now suffers from dementia. As the title suggests, the thriller opens on a prisoner's escape from the DB, 'America's foremost military prison'. After the DB loses power and all the automatic cell doors inexplicably unlock, shots are fired, followed by an explosion. When the dust settles, an unidentifed corpse is discovered in Robert Puller's cell and he's gone. John's CO breaks the news to him, gives him leave and warns him to stay away from the case.

But higher authorities have different ideas and our hero is assigned the task of tracking down his own brother. He's soon joined by Army Intelligence Captain Veronica Knox, but can he trust her? Before his conviction, Robert worked for STRATCOM (the United States Strategic Command). Soon, one of its generals is murdered and that's only the first in a mounting body count. Meanwhile, Robert is doing some digging of his own and the Puller brothers make a powerful team, even working separately.

Though John feels out of his element in the intelligence field, 'chock-full of lies, dubious allegiances, ulterior motives, changing agendas, and everyone telling you what you wanted to hear while they were sticking the knife deeper into your back and blaming it on someone else', he soldiers on. The truth slowly emerges, but proof is less forthcoming and there are betrayals and danger at every turn. A phenomenal read, as usual, from David Baldacci - don't miss it!

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