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119 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2011
It's always nice to sink your teeth into a Baldacci, particularly when he throws you a curveball by introducing a new character with a whole new set of skills. However, it's quite a shock to find something vaguely familiar about John Puller whose former MP days match up with Lee Child's Jack Reacher, and you begin to wonder what's coming next when he teams up with a small-town female sheriff to solve a series of grisly crimes (reminiscent of Reacher's latest plot - The Affair). Add in the fact that he loves his coffee by the gallon and gets to beat up on the town bully and wow! - the shades of déjà vu start to close in alarmingly!

For avid fans of Reacher the comparison offered by Puller is frankly off-putting and, to a degree, disappointing. But none of that should detract from what is a stonking great yarn in its own right. Nobody does insight into weaponry, forensics, clandestine services, and politics like Baldacci and in Zero Hour he lets it all hang out. The story rattles along at a fast rate, draws you into making some wrong assumptions, and has more than enough action for even the fiercest of adrenaline junkies. It builds to a climax as good as any you're likely to encounter, including a few twists that only the bravest of authors attempt these days.

If this is to be the start of a new Baldacci series featuring the superbly-honed investigative skills of John Puller - and there's no reason to doubt otherwise - then bring it on! Goodness knows there are a lot of stories out there just waiting for the Baldacci flair to keep Puller busy. Let's just hope that as he evolves, the character starts to distance himself from the Jack Reacher brand!
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148 of 152 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 8 November 2011
I have been a Baldacci addict ever since I read The Christmas Train and his novels never cease to amaze me in the completely differerent topics he covers but there is always a surprise ending.

This book sneaks up on you. It starts as a standard detective investigation with Puller (military) joining up with Sam Cole the local female and lead cop. Set in a remote county, Sam faces discrimination from the locals but has proven herself up to the job. Together they slowly pull together to solve unusual local murders but there is something far deeper behind the scenes. This thriller is exactly that - so intriguing and full of great characters intertwined with family relationships but you are kept guessing until the final chapters. All is not as it seemed in this sleepy backwater - its fate could affect the nation. The final ending is a complete surprise and very unexpected. I could not put this one down but its pretty intensive reading so it did take me two days to complete but worth every moment.

This is a must read for any thriller enthusiast. If you have not read Baldacci before, this is a good introduction but bear in mind that no two of his novels are of the same genre but all contain ingenious plots/endings. You will be hooked...Zero Day
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
"Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them." -- Psalm 39:6 (NKJV)

I would have liked this book a lot better if Lee Child hadn't already written the Jack Reacher novels. Instead, I kept having the feeling that I'd already read this book . . . and there are a number of surface similarities to Lee Child's latest Reacher novel, The Affair.

I liked The Affair better than Zero Day, but Zero Day is a perfectly satisfying book. If you haven't read The Affair, you'll probably like Zero Day better than I did.

I don't know enough about the military and military investigations to know how accurate the details are in Zero Day. But the details seemed credible to an ignorant person like me. If you are familiar with the details, their accuracy will probably affect your enjoyment of the book quite a bit.

John Puller makes an interesting protagonist because Mr. Baldacci leaves so many mysteries virtually untouched in Puller's background. Obviously, future books are planned that will gradually reveal aspects of those mysteries which include a tricky family background and a seemingly irrational desire to avoid gaining military rank.

Puller shows humanity that makes him more appealing than what might have been developed in someone who is a bit of a hard core cop-type.

The mystery is decently complicated and not too transparently telegraphed.

The book's main appeal, however, is in the pairing of the military investigator, Puller, with the single woman detective, Sam Cole. Their relationship carries the story forward in a way that the Reacher novels usually don't contain as effectively.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2012
It's a mixed bag of a book with large chunks of it taken up by lists (of equipment/things to do, etc.,) and over-explanation of procedures and flash backs and, of course, Baldacci should have made an effort to create a character that wasn't just another Jack Reacher is disguise. On a personal note I think the most recent books from Childs have been very lazy and I probably have bought my last Jack Reacher novel so I would have thought that there is now room for another Jack Reacher type character to take his place, but Puller isn't it. It's an okay read, a bit laborious in places (due to the aforementioned faults). Tick but could do much better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
John Puller is an investigator in the military CID, Criminal Investigative Division, he is six feet three inches tall and the only career he has ever wanted was to wear the uniform of the United States Army. He has served abroad in both Iraq and Afghanistan and is highly decorated from both wars. He is US military through and through and in the military there are rules and you always follow the rules.

When a Colonel is murdered in Virginia, a Colonel who worked in defence intelligence then John is the man the military call to find out what happened. The only unusual thing about this investigation is that John is to go to the town of Drake on his own, not with the usual investigative team. On getting to the town he meets up with the local sheriff, a Samantha Cole, and the story is all about how these two hunt for the reasons for the murder and deal with the consequences.

There is one obvious problem with the story and that is the very close resemblance between John and Jack Reacher. During the initial stages of the story I though this was going to ruin the story for me as I kept comparing the two, especially when some statement would be jarringly close to what I had read in the Reacher stories, the fact that they both have to sit at the rear of a dinner so they can watch who comes in etc. However to give David Baldacci credit this story transcended this difficulty and by the mid point in the story I was engrossed in the action and keen to find out how our two heroes would overcome the day.

Without question this was heading for a five star review until the straight forward murder investigation turned into something much more serious. I cannot say anything further without brining in a spoiler, suffice it to say that in the latter half of the story the premise became unsustainable. Because of this as I read the last sections of the book, instead of being gripped by the unfolding drama I was simply reading it out of curiosity to see what the conclusion would be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This title was suggested to me by a friend for my holiday reading list. So there I was on a wet Wednesday afternoon at the Moselle valley. A bottle of the local plonk and John Puller for company! This book didn't pull any punches... From dusting up the local bully to helping an old lady pass with dignity this was a great read for an otherwise dull day. It is pure escapism. I read it over the course of a day and there were patches when I could not put it down.

The hero, John Puller is just too good to be true, he never makes a mistake and his self confidence in his abilities are unshakeable. The best bit is when the...... nah! no plot spoilers here you'll just have to read it for yourselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2012
My rating:

* Avoid at all costs
** Mediocre
*** Worth a read
**** Good
***** Shelf of favourites

Baldacci is one of those hybrid authors like Harlen Coben in a way in that they both write great and terrible books such as the Maxwell and King Series in the case of Baldacci and Myron Bolitar series with Harlen Coben.

I'm pleased to say that Zero day is one of Baldacci's better books. There are many who claim it is a rip-off of Lee Childs Character and to some extent I would agree that the characters are fairly similar. The protagonist is a bit of a mix between Lee Child's Jack Reacher and Brian Haig's Sean Drummond. This is no bad thing and Baldacci pulls it off admirably with room to spare.

This is a great book and you will not regret buying it. I'm somewhat mystified on the low price on Amazon (GBP 0.20) and it is the steal of the year.

My only complaints would be

- Feels a bit short but then again, the book is so good that you want it to go on forever
- Characters are a bit two dimensional then again ...this is an action thriller

Buy it..buy it now before it goes up in price!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2012
Zero Day does have a familiar feel of The Affair. I am a Reacher fan but I still like this book. Puller is a bit less dramatic than Reacher but still righteous and a very capable army investigator. It started quite slow but progress very smoothly to the end. Baldacci has given lots of technical details re the detonation of bombs and subtle human touch with Sam Cole and his cat. Look forward to his next Puller book. Hence, I will have both Reacher and Puller to read now!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2012
I took a while to really get into this as it was rather slow. The mid-section picked up the pace somewhat and was good but when the plot unravelled in the last quarter, I felt rather disappointed as it veered too incredulously and seemed out of line with the main build-up. Overall, I rated this average, as it was well written, the characters of Puller quite strong, but admittedly in the vein of Child's Jack Reacher. Not one of the best from a classic story teller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2012
Zero Day clearly draws its concept heavily from Lee Child and Jack Reacher, that is obvious to everyone who's read it. What it doesn't draw from those two though is any real action or suspense.

The first 500 pages do nothing more than meander through a superficial story which gives us a chance to get to know the characters. There is little plot and its actually very boring. I found myself desperately hoping that the tempo would pick up, but it never really does. In fairness, from page 550 to 610 it gets better, but by then I just didnt care. I find the modern obsession with turning a plot that would make a decent 250 page paperback, into a 500 plus page bore really annoying.

Baldacci throws us a few red herrings, but the story doesn't hang together very well and it gets dull and uninvolving quite quickly. Rather like going on a date where you know nothings going to happen and you cant wait to pay and leave.

I think Lee Child can resist the urge to look over his shoulder for a while yet.
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