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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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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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"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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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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on 13 September 2012
Having read some of the reviews and the product description, for 20p I decided to give it a go. I'm so pleased I didn't spend more on it.

If you were to cut out all the waffle and the tedious technology that really isn't required to that depth unless you're a rocket scientist (or in the US Military), it would be a good read. The product description says that the hero is at odds with the female sheriff, when they seemed to work pretty well together, I thought.

All in all, I had to put some hard work in to finish this book, instead of it being a pleasure to read. I don't think I'll be continuing this series of books.
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oh, what to make of David Baldacci? A capable and entertaining author, much of his recent work has not been up to the standard set by his early books. My personal view is that this came about as he started producing books on a more regular basis, quantity over quality if you like. And now we have "Zero Day" which is a very hard book to review...
The good news is that this is the best book from the author in some while, a fast paced page turner about an US Military investigator looking into some deaths in a small town and realising there is a far bigger picture.....
The bad news is that I am astonished at how this rips off Lee Child's Jack Reacher! A tall military cop who goes by his surname, adept with his fists or weapons, hightened observational and analytical skills, the setting of small town US and a lady sheriff to boot! It's almost like he went with a check list of a standard Reacher book! It's astonishing almost to the degree that it is funny.
But it actually ain't bad and Reacher fans will probably enjoy this while thinking Mr Baldacci has a bit of a cheek. But the truth is, with the ripped off character and formula and Baldacci's ability, this works well and I have to say I enjoyed it.
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on 16 March 2015
This is my first read of the John Puller series and it was pretty good - but could have been better! As an avid fan of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series I was keen to read this and put simply, this is a toned-down - employed still by the Army - version of Reacher. Puller is an elite military investigator (as was Reacher) of size and weight (Reacher) with rough but not unattractive looks (Reacher) and a straight to the point manner (Reacher). This first book's focus is on a terrorist plot and is played out in a remote, almost time-forgotten small town. Puller has been put onto the investigation because an Army Colonel (and his family) have been murdered in the town. It becomes clear that this investigation needs to be kept very low-key as it is being controlled right from the top, with Puller the only investigating operative. The story is good and surrounded by well researched detail but there are prolonged periods of story-building and not enough action sequences. Like Reacher, Puller is never destined to lose a fight but unlike Reacher, Puller doesn't have enough of them!
Will I continue to read the Puller series? Yes I will, but mainly because I only have two more Reacher books to read (19 and 20). If you like crime thrillers where the hero is a man's man then you will probably enjoy John Puller. However, after the first read for me there are still better characters of this type out there (Reacher, obviously but also Stephen Leathers' Spider Shepherd) so let's see how Puller develops in book two!
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on 4 August 2012
Instant comparison to Child's Reacher novels but there the similarity ends. Boring, no action and Baldacci's descriptions sound like classroom lectures.
The plot can be recognised from miles away and is a poor imitation of a Lee Child narrative.
I plodded halfway through and threw in the towel.
Don't get me wrong, Baldacci's a fine writer and I was expecting great things from this latest super hero cop, but it turned out to be too stilted and wooden.
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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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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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