|Name: DAVID BALDACCI
Author of: ZERO DAY (2011)
On the web: davidbaldacci.com
On Twitter: @davidbaldacci
To celebrate the launch of David Baldacci’s latest novel, The Escape, as well as the paperback publication of his fourth Will Robie novel, The Target, we’re very pleased to welcome the author to Reader Dad as part of his blog tour.
I’ve been waiting for this moment since I finished the first novel in the John Puller series, Zero Day. Now the third novel in that series – The Escape – is out and we finally learn the answer to a question posed in Zero Day: What is the deal with John’s brother, Robert? When we first meet him he’s a prisoner at the United States Disciplinary Barracks, America’s most secure military prison. He’s serving a life sentence for treason. What exactly did he do? And, more importantly, is he really guilty?
I enjoy foreshadowing questions like this in a series. Readers have to be a bit patient to get the payoff, but hopefully it will be worth it. Writing about the military is a little dicey. First, I have a lot of readers who wear the uniform and so I’m conscious that I have to get all my facts as accurate as possible. I don’t want people who carry guns to be mad at me! Secondly, there is a mass of technical jargon and military acronyms in that world that soldiers use matter-of-factly, but which can be confusing for the layperson. Thus, I’ve tried to be judicious in their use and when I do employ them I try very hard to explain clearly what they mean and why they’re important to the plot. I don’t roll this stuff out willy-nilly; it has to be integral to the plot. And with all my research I always end up leaving most of it on the table. After all, I’m not writing a textbook.
So, in The Escape I tried to do multiple things. I wanted to develop John Puller’s character more, and in doing so flesh out the relationship he has with both his brother and his father. And in the novel I laid out another bit of foreshadowing about another important Puller family member. That will pay off in a future novel! Until then, enjoy The Escape.
All the lights, cameras and consoles instantly went out. And then the quiet was replaced with urgent cries and the sounds of men running. Communication radios crackled and popped. Flashlights were snatched from holders on leather belts and powered up. They provided only meagre illumination.
And then the unthinkable happened: all the automatic cell doors unlocked.
Military CID investigator John Puller has returned from his latest case to learn that his brother, Robert, once a major in the United States Air Force, and an expert in nuclear weaponry and cyber-security, has escaped from the Army’s most secure prison. Preliminary investigations show that Robert – convicted of treason – may have had help in his breakout. Now he’s on the run, and he’s the military’s number one target.
John Puller has a dilemma. Which comes first: loyalty to his country, or to his brother? Blood is thicker than water, but Robert has state secrets that certain people will kill for. John does not know for certain the true nature of Robert’s crimes, nor if he’s even guilty. It quickly becomes clear, however, that his brother’s responsibilities were powerful and far-reaching.
With the help of US intelligence officer Veronica Knox, both brothers move closer to the truth from their opposing directions. As the case begins to force John Puller into a place he thought he’d never be – on the other side of the law. Even his skills as an investigator, and his strength as a warrior, might not be enough to save him. Or his brother.