Read of the Week

Walk the Wire

David Baldacci

Pan Macmillan

Review: Karen Watkins

Death, danger, a cult and a nail-biting plot, this novel has all the elements of a good thriller.

The story takes place in the sleepy town of London, North Dakota.

Hal Parker is closing in on his prey. He knows he’s nearing his target from the volume of blood, “like rubies scattered in the rich soil”. It’s hot and humid. A storm is brewing.

Instead of a wolf, he comes across the body of a woman. The FBI are called in, the towns’ folk ask why.

The woman has patterns on her chest, the tell-tale Y-incision cut used in an autopsy. The only problem is that she isn’t in a morgue but in the stark tundra of America’s fracking capital.

At centre stage in the vast complicated cast of characters is FBI consultant Amos Decker. He is joined by former journalist and sidekick Alex Jamison. They work with local police boss Lieutenant Joe Kelly and coroner Walt Southern with professional assassins Will Robie and Jessica Reel joining in to investigate from behind the scenes.

Robie and Reel feature in other Baldacci novels such as The Innocent and The Hit.

As Decker and Jamison dig into the murder investigation, they discover that the woman was a prostitute by night and a teacher for a local religious sect by day.

The sect operates on land once owned by a mysterious government facility.

Despite the story taking place in America, fracking has been part of the South African narrative for the past few years. It continues, despite protests and lobby groups raising awareness about how this search for gas comes at the expense of this country’s most precious resource, water. This novel brings to light the seedier side of the industry.

In retrospect I found the story quite tongue-in-cheek but enjoyed being taken for the ride. No wonder Baldacci is a favourite among crime and thriller writers.

One lucky reader can win a hamper of three David Baldacci books: Long Road to Mercy; Redemption; and The Fallen. To enter, email your name, address and phone number to before midnight on Sunday August 23. Type “Baldacci” in the subject line.

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