“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Catch a tiger by its toe.” That children’s rhyme is seared into Atlee’s memory. It’s what the kidnapper recited as he chose between six-year-old Atlee and her twin sister, Mercy.
Atlee was spared. But Mercy was taken that night. And Atlee never saw her again.
Three decades later, Atlee is the only FBI agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona, resident agency. The Grand Canyon is within the office’s jurisdiction. So when one of the Grand Canyon’s mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon — and its rider missing — Atlee begins an investigation. She quickly realizes that the lost rider was engaged in something clandestine and discovers clues pointing to a terrifying plot that threatens national security.
When Atlee is abruptly removed from the case, she must decide whether she will continue searching for the missing rider — risking the loss of her career — or keep working the case and uncover the truth.
Her choice might impact democracy in America as we know it.
Long Road to Mercy is a spellbinding beginning to what promises to be another adventurous and emotionally moving series from acclaimed author David Baldacci.
Baldacci has created another cast of compelling characters. Atlee’s story is engrossing and chilling. She has a very specific reason for wanting to be assigned to the FBI field office in Shattered Rock, Arizona. Suddenly, she finds herself trying to solve a bizarre crime that occurred at the very bottom of the Grand Canyon. When Atlee begins investigating, she quickly realizes that the missing rider was part of a group of tourists on an excursion . . . but not a tourist himself. Atlee has to make a gut-wrenching decision when she is directed to cease investigating. Complying with that direct order could have far-reaching consequences, but failing to follow it could mean the end of her career.
Ultimately, Atlee embarks on an action-packed adventure through the rough, untamed Grand Canyon and surrounding area. As she does so, Baldacci reveals details about his new female protagonist’s background and tragic, compelling motivations. Among them is the fact that her sister’s abductor was never apprehended. Atlee still wonders why she was left behind and struggles with the guilt of having been spared. She needs to know if the man she believes to be Mercy’s kidnapper is, in fact, guilty. And if he is, can she extract the truth from him about where he took Mercy on that fateful night . . . and where Atlee will now find her remains? Baldacci’s new character is multi-layered, intriguing, and fascinating, with a sense of purpose, depth of strength, and hints of vulnerability that Baldacci has only begun to reveal.
Atlee is assisted by her quirky but devoted secretary, Carol Blum. At 60 years of age, Carol has worked for the FBI for several decades and, with Atlee, finally has a chance to experience actual law enforcement work up close. It’s an opportunity she is not about to miss. And there’s Sam Kettler, the Park Service Ranger who discovered the dead mule, and joins Atlee in her quest to solve the mystery before it’s too late to derail the nefarious plot that threatens U.S. diplomacy and, perhaps, safety. Like Atlee, Sam is highly skilled and dedicated to his work but, like Atlee, reserved in his personal life. Hopefully, Baldacci will disclose more about Sam’s history in future installments.
The Long Road to Mercy is, in authentic Baldacci style, an engaging and fast-paced thriller — one of the best books of 2018. In Atlee, he has delivered to his loyal readers another endearing character that readers are sure to embrace and cheer on.