2013-01-24 / Columns

Off the Bookshelf

Zero Day
By Maralee Kalianoff

“Zero Day” is one of bestselling author David Baldacci’s newest mystery thrillers.

John Puller is an Army combat veteran who suffers from nightmares of a firefight in Afghanistan which cost the men he was leading their lives. After completing several tours of active duty, Puller has returned to the United States and is a military investigator for the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division. A single man, his only family includes his father, an Army Fighting Legend who now suffers from dementia, and his older brother, a former military man presently serving a life sentence in a federal military prison for treason.

When Colonel Matthew Reynolds is murdered, along with his entire family, Puller is assigned to the case. Reynolds, an agent with the Defense IntelligenceAgency at the Pentagon, was visiting relatives in the small town of Drake, W.Va. Oddly, Puller is the only agent sent to investigate the case; he is directed to work strictly with the local law enforcement, headed by police officer Sam Cole. “Sam” turns out to be “Samantha,” and together Puller and Cole set about solving the murders of Reynolds, his wife, and their two teen-aged children.

As the case progresses, more people are murdered. Although Puller is in constant contact with his superiors and the “simple” murder case is looking more like an impending terrorist attack, Puller is offered no more manpower other than the local police force, which is grossly understaffed for the large area they are required to cover.

“Zero Day” is set in the mountains of West Virginia, a coal-mining area which is close to Baldacci’s heart. His novel “Wish You Well,” a novel which seems to give a glimpse into Baldacci’s personal life, is also set in coal-mining country. It’s obvious the area is very familiar to the author, particularly the mining aspect. The military jargon is also extremely detailed, indicating Baldacci has extensive knowledge in that area as well, or really did his homework.

“Zero Day” is an excellent mystery. There are times it reads like “The Hunger Games;” the “kill or be killed” aspect is intense. As in most of Baldacci’s writings, “Zero Day” remains a mystery to the bitter end where Baldacci wraps everything up into a neat little package and you mumble to yourself, “Didn’t see THAT coming!”

“Zero Day,” and many other great books by David Baldacci, is available at the Harry L. Petrie Library in Linton.

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If a book you are looking for is not available at the Harry L. Petrie Library, Librarian Carla Frison will be happy to obtain it from the North Dakota State Library for you. If you return the book to the State Library in Bismarck within the allotted time, there is no charge. The staff can return it by mail but will have to charge you for postage.

Hours for the library in Linton are Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Tuesdays, 2-5 p.m. on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and 2-5 p.m. on Friday.

Friends of the Library meets every first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Library. Everyone is welcome.

To contact Maralee, e-mail her: bonus73@hotmail.com and put Off the Bookshelf in the subject line.

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