Dream Town by David Baldacci

Today I am sharing my thoughts on the latest Aloysius Archer thriller from David Baldacci, Dream Town. I really love this series and have been trying to find the time to read this book for so long – wait over. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 14 April 2022
Publisher: Macmillan

About the Book

Private Investigator and WWII veteran, Aloysius Archer, returns to solve a new case in Hollywood in Dream Town, a riveting thriller from international number 1 bestselling author, David Baldacci.

All that glitters . . .
1952, Los Angeles. It is New Year’s Eve and PI Aloysius Archer is dining with his friend and rising Hollywood actress Liberty Callahan when they’re approached by Eleanor Lamb, a screenwriter who would like to hire him, as she suspects someone is trying to kill her.

Murder and mystery
A visit to Lamb’s Malibu residence leaves Archer knocked unconscious after he stumbles over a dead body in the hallway; and Lamb seems to have vanished. With the police now involved in the case, a close friend and colleague of Lamb’s employs Archer to find out what’s happened to the screenwriter.

The City of Angels – or somewhere much, much darker?
Archer’s investigation takes him from the rich, glamorous and glitzy LA to the seedy, dark side of the city, and onward to the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, just now hitting its stride as a hot spot for celebrities and a money-making machine for the mob. In a place where cops and crooks work hand in hand, Archer will cross paths with Hollywood stars, politicians and notorious criminals. He’ll almost die several times, and he’ll discover bodies and secrets from the canyons and beaches of Malibu and the luxurious mansions of Bel Air and Beverly Hills to the narcotics clubs of Chinatown.

With the help of Liberty and his PI partner Willie Dash, Archer will risk everything and leave no stone unturned in finding the missing Eleanor Lamb, and in bringing to justice killers who would love nothing better than to plant Archer six feet under.

My Thoughts

Aloysius Archer – what a character. He’s one that has really grown on me, although I have to admit, it really didn’t take long. From an inauspicious start back in books one, One Good Deed, it’s clear he is a man who is on the right side of the law, even if his background might beg to differ. He’s a man of integrity and principal, and if you have him in your corner you can consider yourself a very lucky person. If you are fighting for the other side … Well, it’s not going to be an easy ride, that’s for sure.

I love the historical setting of these books, shortly after World War II, when America, and especially the Los Angeles, or more specifically, Hollywood setting that we join Archer in, is going through a real period of change and boom. The book captures the glamour of the era, the rise of the Hollywood star and the importance of the movie studios and the people who pull the strings, but also the seedier side of the town. The darkness that all the glitz, glamour and picture perfect seafront and hillside properties manage to mask. All is not so shiny and perfect in Tinseltown, as Archer is soon about to find out.

A mixture of murder investigation and missing person case, Archer finds himself right in the heart of the action even though the person who initially asks for his help, Eleanor Lamb, is nowhere to be found. There are many threads to this investigation, from the murder to smuggling, and with everything in Hollywood being one unending facade, an Oscar worthy performance of lies and misdirection, it’s hard to know who, if anyone to trust. It makes for a very intriguing, and initially puzzling, investigation and certainly kept my interest levels high.

The more Archer pushes, the more confusing matters become. All roads seem to lead Archer back to one very significant place, and with that comes a true sense of threat and an escalation in pacing and tension that brings Archer as close to a permanent ending as any man might ever wish, or not, to come. It’s a very deadly game, with corruption, fear and violence at the heart, as well as perhaps the root of all evil – pure unadulterated greed.

But prepare to be surprised. Whilst I wouldn’t trust anyone in this book, with the obvious exception of Archer and his allies, I wasn’t expecting what actually comes to pass at all. David Baldacci plays his cards very close to his chest and manages to leave the really big reveals to those critical points in the story, at stages where the impact will be very keenly felt.

As for the ending of the book? Well, it certainly sets us, and Archer, up for a very interesting future full of opportunity. It makes me feel very optimistic about the future of the series, and the fact that we are going to see more of Aloysius Archer. He’s a character I can’t get enough of and I can’t wait to see what’s next. In fact, David Baldacci seems to be writing a whole slew of characters of late that I’m finding absolutely compelling, and I’m loving it. Absolutely recommended for folks who like their action with that perfect historical, American noirish edge.

About the Author

David Baldacci is one of the world’s bestselling and favourite thriller writers. A former trial lawyer with a keen interest in world politics, he has specialist knowledge in the US political system and intelligence services, and his first book, Absolute Power, became an instant international bestseller, with the movie starring Clint Eastwood a major box office hit. He has since written more than forty bestsellers featuring Amos Decker, Aloysius Archer, Atlee Pine and John Puller. David is also the co-founder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across the US.

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