The Escape: John Puller, book 3

The Escape: John Puller, book 3

‘THE ESCAPE: JOHN PULLER, BOOK 3’


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OPENING LINE:

It is a family affair when John Puller is sent to track down his older brother after an escape from a military prison.


PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:

David Baldacci is one of the world’s most popular storytellers. In his blockbuster thrillers Zero Day and The Forgotten, listeners met John Puller. A combat veteran and special agent with the U.S. Army, Puller is the man they call to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. But all his training, all his experience, all his skills will not prepare him for his newest case, one that will force him to hunt down the most formidable and brilliant prey he has ever tracked: his own brother.
The Escape
It’s a prison unlike any other. Military discipline rules. Its security systems are unmatched. None of its prisoners dream of escaping. They know it’s impossible.
Until now.
John Puller’s older brother, Robert, was convicted of treason and national security crimes. His inexplicable escape from prison makes him the most-wanted criminal in the country. Some in the government believe that John Puller represents their best chance at capturing Robert alive, and so Puller takes on the burden of bringing his brother in to face justice.
But Puller quickly discovers that there are others pursuing his brother, who only see Robert as a traitor and are unconcerned if he survives. Puller is in turn pushed into an uneasy, fraught partnership with another agent, who may have an agenda of her own.
They dig more deeply into the case together, and Puller finds that not only are her allegiances unclear, but that there are troubling details about his brother’s conviction….and that someone is out there who doesn’t want the truth to ever come to light. As the nationwide manhunt for Robert grows more urgent, Puller’s masterful skills as an investigator and strength as a fighter may not be enough to save his brother – or himself.
©2014 David Baldacci (P)2014 Hachette Audio


THE PLOT:

John Puller’s older brother Robert is locked up in a high security military prison after being convicted of treason. His prison is thought to be escape-proof, but one night when the power goes out, Robert Puller does escape and a dead man ends up in his bed.
If the book were simply about John Puller being tasked with tracking down and recapturing his own brother, it might be interesting enough. However, as is so often the case in mystery novels, nothing is ever as simple as that.
The story of Robert Puller actually starts in ‘Zero Day’, which is the first book in the Puller series. What Robert Puller did to get convicted of treason is not clear to the audience, or even to John Puller himself, but it all starts to come together nicely in ‘The Escape’.
As John Puller’s investigation into his brother’s escape from prison marches forward, he is given a new partner in the person of Veronica Knox. Knox is a government official sent to help with the investigation but also to watch John Puller. Does she have other motivations? That is called into question when Puller receives a text warning him that she is not who she seems to be.
The book gets off to a slow start, but once it finds its legs, it’s off to the races. There are a lot of twists and turns and unexpected developments that should keep any reader guessing and wondering what will happen next. There are even some genuinely touching moments involving members of the Puller family, especially towards the very end of the story.


THE AUTHOR:

David Baldacci has commented in interviews about the amount of research he does for these novels. The thing I liked about this one is that there are seemingly unimportant moments in time that turn out to be really important down the road. I won’t spoil any of them, but when a small scene in a hallway can lead to something much bigger later in the story, it can be a really fun realization to make.


THE NARRATION:

It finally hit me that of the two narrators, Orlagh Cassidy has the far tougher assignment. Ron McLarty carries the bulk of the narration, but even given that fact, Cassidy’s job is the far more difficult.
McLarty is able to narrate the same character from book to book. As a result his character becomes more developed and easier to slide in and out of, but that’s not true of Cassidy’s characters. Other than Gen. Julie Carson, all of her characters are different book to book. Unlike with ‘The Forgotten’, there is not a wealth of characters with different accents for her to perform. She does do a pretty good job voicing the stone cold antagonist, however.


THE PRODUCTION:

This is the typical John Puller release from Hachette Audio – chapter stops that match up with the book, music and a sprinkling of sound effects. Everything sounds great.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

This is my favorite of the John Puller series thus far, and it continues a string where each book is better than the one that came before it.
I like the family dynamic with John and his older brother Robert. Puller’s female sidekick for this novel is the most well developed of his female sidekicks so far. The antagonist is ruthless and formidable, and there are also a lot of fun twists and turns that the story takes.
In theory, you could probably read this book without knowing too much from the previous two installments. However, the book does call back to certain events from the previous two books, so I really would start with ‘Zero Day’, as that is where the story of Robert Puller is first brought up.
Overall, I was never quite sure of where this story was going to take me next, but I could not wait to find out. I got through this book in about a day because I could not put it down.


QUICK FACTS:

Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
The Escape: John Puller, Book 3 David Baldacci Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy Hachette Audio Mystery & Thriller 11/18/2014 14 hours, 51 minutes 9/10

DISCLAIMER:

A copy of ‘THE ESCAPE: JOHN PULLER, BOOK 3’ was purchased from Audible for review.


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