Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci – Review

Hey hey! Welcome to another book review. Today’s review is of one of my most anticipated books: Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci. This was a disappointing two star read for me. I thought it was typical and cliche for Baldacci and I had a hard time reading it.

Book: Long Road to Mercy

Author: David Baldacci

Rating: ★1/2

Summary: Atlee Pine, an FBI special agent assigned to the remote wilds of the western United States. Ever since her twin sister was abducted by a notorious serial killer at age five, Atlee has spent her life hunting down those who hurt others. And she’s the best at it. She could be one of the Bureau’s top criminal profilers, if she didn’t prefer catching criminals in the vast wilderness of the West to climbing the career ladder in the D.C. office. Her chosen mission is a lonesome one–but that suits her just fine.

Now, Atlee is called in to investigate the mutilated carcass of a mule found in the Grand Canyon–and hopefully, solve the disappearance of its rider. But this isn’t the only recent disappearance. In fact, it may be just the first clue, the key to unraveling a rash of other similar missing persons cases in the canyon. . . 

Quote: “For me, the Canyon isn’t just a tourist destination. It’s a living, breathing place.”

The Good:

*Carol Blum. I loved Carol Blum so much. She’s the older secretary of Special Agent Atlee Pine. Her personality, vigor, and strength is amazing. And even thought she wears blouses, skirts, and pumps, she’s got steely determination and fierce loyalty to Atlee. I enjoyed reading about her immensely.

*Thriller. It was a little thriller-y and it had some suspense.

*What else…? Uh, um, nothing? This book wasn’t my cup of tea.

Quote: Blum gave her an incredulous look. “Well, it’s about time, Special Agent Pine. Frankly, I expected you to be a little faster on the uptake.”

The Bad:

*Her royal highness Special Agent Pine. She is the most cliche Baldacci character ever. If you haven’t read Baldacci, then you won’t understand, so here’s a little background. At least four characters that I’ve read that were penned by Baldacci are either: ex Navy SEALS, or ex military, or ex assassin. They are also super fit, with lots of muscle and no fat (and are hardcore gym enthusiasts), have “no heart”, and love being on their own. They also have some traumatic past (either from being in the military or Navy or some childhood trauma) that is the reason for them living on their own with zero personal belongings other than clothes and their guns and being determined to never forge relationships. They also have some other character that is just like them and who also happens to be a love interest. Guess what HRH Special Agent Pine is? Exactly everything listed above.

Description (from the book): “Her thighs, calves, and glutes were rocks, her shoulders and delts sculpted, her arms ropy with long cords of muscle, and her core is iron.”

God forbid I end up the recipient of her punch. Not only that, her twin sister, Mercy, was kidnapped when they were both six years old and the killer was never found (traumatic past anyone?). That’s why she joined the FBI and she loves working on her own. She doesn’t have a military background, but she’s as hard as ice. And her counterpart is Sam Kettler, an ex-military guy suffering from PTSD from his time serving (don’t forget the love interest). And I think you can guess his description.

I hate cliche characters, and I’m tired of reading the same character with a different name/background/job. It gets boring, Mr. Baldacci.

*Plot. Another thing you need to know about Baldacci is this: he loves his conspiracy political theories. And I really mean it. I don’t want to spoil anything (even though I REALLY want to), so if you are inclined to, visit my Goodreads version to see spoilers. Just know that this isn’t about a sadistic person who likes to murder mules. It is SO👏MUCH👏MORE👏

*Chapter 49. This chapter really revolted me. If you read it, you might understand. I thought it was very cruel and unnecessary. Spoilers on Goodreads.

*Representation. Most of the time, I don’t really mind if authors don’t have much representation in their books especially when they were published before these issues became a major force in today’s society. However, Long Road to Mercy was published in 2018, and all the major characters are white. (There is an Asian guy, but his job is to be a plot twist.) I think that two side characters, Joe Yazzie Sr. and his wife Jennifer might be Navajo Indian, but they aren’t part of the main plot of the story. There are two black characters, but one is just a guy we meet in the gym and who we don’t even know his name, and another guy who is only a taxi driver. Pine and Blum are white. (If I missed something saying otherwise, please let me know, but I’m pretty sure they are white.) Sure, the fact that Pine is a woman in law enforcement is kind of diverse,but it’s not that much.

*Too much description. Since the beginning of the story takes place in the Grand Canyon, there are descriptions of what it looks like. I, personally, thought it was too much. I literally skipped two to three pages of description because I didn’t care and didn’t want to read it.

*COME ON!! THAT’S ALL THAT HAPPENED??? FOR REAL?I thought the end was ridiculously unrealistic, and too simple for such a complex plot. When you get to the end, you’ll understand. HUGE things happened in the book, but that ending was so ridiculously simple that I don’t believe it. Maybe I should go rewrite it. Scrap that, I’ll rewrite the whole book.

*Oh, and does it count that I had a migraine reading this? I don’t know if it’s because of the book or other reasons, but it reduced my reading pleasure considerably.

Quote: “That was why virtually every serial murderer was also a narcissist.”

The Wrap:

In the end, I disliked this book, I’m not even sure why I gave it two stars. I won’t recommend it, but if the above reasons for me disliking it don’t matter to you, or you’re a Baldacci fan, or you haven’t read a book by Baldacci before, go ahead and give it a try.

One sentence summary: A book filled with Baldacci cliches, too-big plot and too-simple ending, and a boring main character.

In the end, I’m reducing this to one and a half stars rounded to 2 (The half is for Carol)

Have you read Long Road to Mercy? What did you think? What are some of your most anticipated reads of the year? Let’s chat in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci – Review

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