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Zero Day
John Puller (CID) Series, No 1
David Baldacci
Read by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy

Hachette Audio
October 31, 2011 / ISBN: 160788576X
Thriller / Suspense / Audiobook / CDs / Unabridged

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks

Mailman Howard Reed expected a typical day as he delivered mail in the rural area of West Virginia. He was used to coal dust in the air and contaminated water caused by the area's livelihood - coal mining. But he wasn't use to a bloody dog greeting him at a door or becoming violating ill at the sight to follow· A family has been murdered·.

When the storyline turns to main character Army CID John Puller, he's arriving by plane at a military prison in Kansas. The prisoner he's visiting isn't under investigation · he's Puller's brother·. Later he heads back to Virginia and the Criminal Investigative Division headquarters for his new assignment · the West Virginia family murder. The father was retiring from Defense Intelligence Agency, hence the government's involvement. The murder scene is described as a slaughterhouse. Puller is expected to play nice with local law enforcement in order to keep track of the investigation. Puller's six years· experience at CID has him suspicious as to why he's the lone investigator on this case. A possible fall guy? He wouldn't put it past the new boss·.

Puller meets Drake detective Samantha Cole via a phone call in the middle of the night; they agree to meet at the murder scene. It's not safe or pleasant, as the guard before them has found out. Of course Cole is attractive and shows Puller she can hold her own. Cole owns her badge and isn't afraid to let others know. Both Puller and Cole interview the locals concerning a possible reason for their deaths. Another lead takes Puller back to the Pentagon and an attractive one-star general with information about the dead DIA colonel. Another direction concerns the Taliban and Russian code. So which is it? The dark side of West Virginia's Coal industry? Something more sinister like terrorists? Or something personal with the late Colonel?

Baldacci is one of the best at leading readers in different directions. The twists and turns are a real blast. The main characters are well written and demand a reaction. Just remember life is not fair, even in fiction. Expect an explosive conclusion.

As for Baldacci newest hero, Puller, he's good at protecting himself as well as those around him. He's kind enough to allow a stray cat to hang around; he calls him AWOL. His father is high ranking and highly irritating · at least that's how his sons feel. I look forward to future episodes with Puller.

I listened to the audio version. The sound effects drive the intensity home especially towards the end. Don't expect to press stop until this military ride is over. Do expect a seasoned narration in this audio version. Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy carry the storyline like the seasoned professionals they are. Cassidy has narrated various fiction and suspense. In Zero Day she lends her voice to both the sultry and the professional side of Cole. McLarty is best known for his thriller/suspense narrations, but he's also popular with the young crowd as the narrator of The Mercy Watson series. McLarty is an expert at bringing out the best in a hero and the worst in an enemy.

Reviewed 2012
© 2012