About the book:
Will Robie is the government’s most professional, disciplined, and lethal assassin. He infiltrates the most hostile countries in the world, defeats our enemies’ advanced security measures, and eliminates threats before they ever reach our shores.
But now, his skills have left him. Sent overseas on a critical assignment, he fails, unable to pull the trigger. Absent his talents, Robie is a man without a mission, and without a purpose.
To recover what he has lost, Robie must confront what he has tried to forget for over twenty years: his own past.
Will Robie escaped his small Gulf Coast hometown of Cantrell, Mississippi, after high school, severing all personal ties, and never looked back. Not once. Not until the unimaginable occurs. His father, Dan Robie, has been arrested and charged with murder.
Father and son haven’t spoken or seen each other since the day Robie left town. In that time, Dan Robie–a local attorney and pillar of the community–has been elected town judge. Despite this, most of Cantrell is aligned against Dan. His guilt is assumed.
To make matters worse, Dan has refused to do anything to defend himself. When Robie tries to help, his father responds only with anger and defiance. Could Dan really be guilty?
With the equally formidable Jessica Reel at his side, Robie ignores his father’s wishes and begins his own desperate investigation into the case. But Robie is now a stranger to his hometown, an outsider, a man who has forsaken his past and his family. His attempts to save his father are met with distrust and skepticism . . . and violence.
Unlike the missions Robie undertook in the service of his country, where his target was clearly defined, digging into his father’s case only reveals more questions. Robie is drawn into the hidden underside of Cantrell, where he must face the unexpected and possibly deadly consequences of the long-ago choices made by father and son. And this time, there may be no escape for either of them.
I personally really like the characters of Will Robie and Jessica Reel, although they have the horrendous job as people who kill for the government, there’s still something likeable about both and this is definitely down to Baldacci’s writing of each character.
This is the fourth book in the Will Robie series and is the one where you learn the most about the main character. Although it is suggested that you read from the first book in the series, I reckon The Guilty can still be enjoyed as a standalone.
The Guilty starts with Robie unable to make a kill, which is something that he has been doing for the last 20 years and which really shouldn’t be a problem for a trained assassin, however, after a horrible incident where a young girl was accidentally killed, Robie is mentally unable to pull the trigger, which is a disaster for his line of work.
In order to help him overcome this, he decides that he needs to face his past and go back to his home town, which he hasn’t visited for over 20 years. The thing is, his father is now on trial for murder, therefore Robie takes it upon himself to investigate.
As the story progresses, Robie has to face some truths from his past. There are many action sequences in this book, which I absolutely love and it keeps the story’s momentum going, you are made to feel that you want to keep on reading to find out what happens next.
What starts as one murder, soon escalates to several.
It’s a fast pace novel where you see Robie working with the local police department and the new hired lawyer for Dan Robie to find out who the murderer is. This is the only bit that I have trouble with believing, as surely the police would not allow an unknown man access to all evidence and notes from a case as Robie is unable to confirm that he is in fact a government employee?!
I did actually make a partial guess at who the murderer was at just over half way through, however, Baldacci generates one final twist at the end which comes as a complete surprise which in turn makes a brilliant ending.
I’m a fan of the Will Robie series and I would give this book a 4/5 and would recommend reading whether or not you have read the previous three titles. I look forward to the next David Baldacci book! 🙂
About the author:
David Baldacci has been writing since childhood, when his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories. (Much later, when David thanked her for being the spark that ignited his writing career, she revealed that she’d given him the notebook to keep him quiet, because “every mom needs a break now and then.”) He published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996; one year later, it was adapted for film, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 34 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide. David has also published six novels for younger readers.
A lifelong Virginian, David graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.
David and his wife, Michelle, are the co-founders of the Wish You Well Foundation®, which supports family and adult literacy in the United States. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and used books have been collected and distributed through food banks to families in need.
David and his family live in Virginia.