I know, I know…you probably think I should start reading more Jane Austen and less popular fiction – being a literature student and all. But you know what? I don’t care. Did you ever stop to wonder why Jane Austen is still being read today? That’s right – Jane Austen was allowed to become a timeless classic by being popular at her time. Think as Pride and Prejudice as the Bridget Jones’ Diary of the 19th century and you’ll be able to stop judging me for my love of crime fiction. If you ever did indeed judge me. I’ll just assume that you didn’t and that that was just me. I love judging me.
But on to more important things: let’s talk books. More particularly, let’s talk about the first instalment of David Baldacci’s new crime series, Memory Man. I never even heard about David Baldacci before I picked up his latest book, but Wikipedia told me that this is by far not his first novel or even series. He wrote almost a dozen stand-alone novels and five series before starting his newest series, which revolves around Amos Decker.
I loved the idea of beginning to read a new series that as of now only consists of a single novel. Is that weird? I neither know nor care. What I do know is that I’ll definitely be picking up the second novel as soon as it hits the shelves.
David Baldacci created a very likeable and interesting character to be the centre of his new series and I’m intrigued to see what he’ll do next. Spoilers: Amos Decker will survive Memory Man – but I’m sure you guessed as much from the title of the series.
Amos Decker used to be a cop until a horrible crime tore his life apart. One evening he came home to find his wife and daughter murdered, an event that sent him into a downward spiral that only came to a halt when Decker learns that a suspect has been taken into custody more than a year after the murders.
The ensuing cat-and-mouse game kept me on the edge of my seat and did a brilliant job distracting me from the pain in my right wrist, which was operated on two weeks ago. Turns out: joins don’t like being cut open. And: the number of things that are nearly impossible to do with just one functional hand is far higher than I imagined it to be. Fortunately, reading books on my kindle is not among that number.
Of course, Baldacci didn’t reinvent the wheel. There are only so many motives that play into human actions and I won’t claim to have been surprised when I realised that Memory Man too would in the end boil down to love, lust, greed and revenge. That is as expected as it is also ultimately unimportant. What matters is a book’s ability to work with these basic ingredients and use them to tell a story that is nevertheless enthralling enough to grab and hold our attention until we reach the last page. A very good book will live on in us and will awaken in us the urge to keep thinking about it, to talk about it and to learn something from it. If we look at Memory Man from this perspective, it might not be a very good book. However, it is definitely good enough to be recommended as an entertaining diversion – and I am positively convinced that we need those too.
Did you read Memory Man / come across any other entertaining fiction lately?
Does anyone see my point about the start of a new series being exciting or is it indeed weird to think that way?