Book review: “The Innocent” by David Baldacci

“The Innocent” builds on author David Baldacci's reputation for enjoyable thrillers.
BY BETTY LYTLE Published: May 13, 2012

In “The Innocent” (Grand Central Publishing, $27.99) by David Baldacci, Will Robie is a hit man for a top secret U.S. government agency. He never questions his orders and always succeeds. He works alone and is responsible only for himself. But he may have made a major mistake.

It begins when he is sent to eliminate a target close to home, in Washington, D.C. Something doesn't feel right about the whole deal, and he refuses to kill. His handler, however, shoots through the window and kills the target: a woman and two children.

Robie flees the scene and ends up in a bus explosion. He survives, as does 14-year-old Julie, whose parents have been murdered. The bus explosion was supposed to kill her, too. Robie promises to help her find the killers.

His boss denies knowledge of the D.C. target, and Robie finds himself unable to trust anyone except the person who had his job before him. The more Robie learns about Julie and the tangled plot that put them together, he becomes convinced someone has orchestrated the whole thing for his benefit. But who? He reviews his past assignments, hoping to find a clue before terrorists strike in very high places.

Baldacci is a prolific writer with 23 novels. His heroes are flawed but always likable. His plots are twisted and sometimes have surprise endings. His stories grab you from the minute you start to read and are hard to put down. This one was no exception.

— Betty Lytle