The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci

Today I am sharing my thoughts on The 6:20 Man, the brand new thriller by David Baldacci. I missed out on a lot of the author’s work during my reading hiatus, but I am loving catching up now. My thanks to publisher Macmillan for the advance copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reading Copy
Release Date: 04 August 2022
Publisher: Macmillan

About the Book

The 6:20 Man is a heart-racing thriller set in the world of high finance in New York, from the number one bestselling author David Baldacci.

A journey that took him to hell . . .

Having survived combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and been decorated with medals, Travis Devine mysteriously leaves the Army under a cloud of suspicion. And at thirty-two years old, he’s swapping fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda for a different kind of danger in the cut-throat world of high finance.

His daily commute on the 6.20 a.m. train into New York’s financial district, to his new job as an analyst at the minted powerhouse investment bank Cowl and Comely, takes him into a world where greed, power, jealousy and ambition result in the financial abuse of the masses and the enrichment of an elite few. But it is on this daily journey that he passes a house where he sees something that sounds alarm signals he cannot ignore.

A close friend of Devine’s, Sarah Ewes, is the first victim and the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death at Cowl and Comely compel him to investigate further. As he digs deeper, he discovers strange coincidences and unnerving truths. As the deaths pile up, and the major players show their hands, he must question who he can trust and who he must fight.

My Thoughts

I was asked recently what it is that I look for in a character, what makes me root for them and gets me invested in their story. My honest answer? I can’t tell you, but what ever it is, Travis Devine has it in spades. David Baldacci is a master at investing the personality and charisma in his protagonists that just make me want to read on. From the very beginning, even without knowing all that much about Devine, and only really being privy to his somewhat voyeuristic tendencies on his morning commute, I was still drawn in, still engaged and absolutely certain that this is a character I wanted to see again.

That certainty was only reinforced by reading more of the story. A former Army Ranger, Devine finds himself in a very difficult situation, being the number one, and potentially only, suspect in the death of a colleague. Now as absolutely sure as we are that Devine is innocent, and his assertions to that fact through the first person narrative, the evidence is, on the surface, overwhelming and it is easy to see why the police are fixated on our new favourite hero. David Baldacci has created quite the nightmare for Devine, a man who has a clear history and very obviously keeping his own secrets. The why and wherefore we are yet to learn, but what can you say of a man who leaves a seemingly perfect career in the Army to live out his days in the relative hell of city finance?

I loved the pacing of this book, the peaks and troughs in the action. Even in the quieter moments there is a sense of urgency and tension as there is always that underlying threat to Devine and his freedom. It’s not just the possibility of being charged with murder that is hanging over him, there are several characters who seem to want something from him, to a point where it is hard to know just who to trust. There are definitely some surprises in store, characters who are not all that they seem and that duplicity really stirs up the story, keeping me on edge and totally engrossed.

One of the real draws to David Baldacci’s books are that they are so steeped in authenticity. Be it talking about the corporate world and some of the more underhand tactics used by Devine’s boss in building his fortune, Devine’s time in the Rangers or even just the familial and professional or personal relationships that we bear witness to in this book, it all feels real. There is a natural style to the narrative, and the dialogue is pitched perfectly, conveying real emotion and driving the story on. It doesn’t feel like there is a wasted moment in the book. Every scene and every character, adds something to the story, even if we don’t understand it’s relevance until just the right moment.

I liked the way in which this book is structured. I really liked the fact that the whole story and conclusion sets us up for the possibility of more from these characters and this series. There are no cliffhangers, it is a standalone story, but one that leaves so much potential. I have found with all of the books I’ve read by David Baldacci that I get the perfect blend of mystery, action, threat, tension, suspense and totally absorbing character, and this is no exception. A brilliant thriller that sits somewhere between a political thriller and an investigation set in the world of financial misconduct and murder. Most definitely recommended.

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.”)

David published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 44 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 over 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries, with 150 million copies sold worldwide. David has also published seven novels for younger readers.

David is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across the United States.

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