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Long Road to Mercy: An Atlee Pine Thriller    by David Baldacci order for
Long Road to Mercy
by David Baldacci
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In Long Road to Mercy, David Baldacci introduces an exciting new lead, FBI Special Agent Atlee Pine. She's the only agent in Shattered Rock, Arizona. The office, where Atlee works with the support of sixty-ish secretary Carol Blum, is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon. This suits Atlee, a loner haunted by the childhood abduction of her twin sister Mercy when they were six years old.

The action starts slowly when a Grand Canyon mule is found stabbed to death with letters carved on the carcass, its rider (defense contractor Benjamin Priest) missing. Atlee investigates with help from attractive, ex-Special Forces Sam Kettler, who now works for the Park Service. She wonders why there's high level FBI interest in a case involving a dead mule. Soon, computers are hacked and attempts made on Atlee's life. The action ramps up from there.

When told to take time off, Atlee decides to 'work outside the lines' and is surprised when Carol goes rogue with her and proves remarkably resourceful. This Thelma and Louise pair discovers that the Russians and a lethal Korean agent are involved, as is a WMD inspector - what is going on in the Canyon? Of course, we know that Atlee will find out, and she (helped by Sam) uncovers a shocking plot, one that would annihilate millions.

As always, Baldacci delivers a unique premise and a gripping thriller. Atlee makes an outstanding new lead and I look forward to her (and Carol Blum's) next set of exploits.

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