Meet Amos Decker: former college football star, NFL player for one brief moment, police officer, and now a down-and-out private investigator. He sounds like a bit of a stereotype, and he probably would be, if it weren’t for something that sets him apart: due to a violent accident on the playing field, Decker now has hyperthymesia, a psychological condition that makes him unable to forget anything. This isn’t a completely fresh idea—the main character in the TV series Unforgettable has hyperthymesia, and The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper and Criminal Minds’ Spencer Reid have eidetic memories (a heightened ability to remember things)—but Baldacci makes it feel fresh by adding in a highly dramatic element: Decker’s family was murdered about a year and a half ago, and, out of the blue, someone has confessed. Using his perfect memory, Decker sees a way to find out what really happened to his wife and child, and to find peace. One of Baldacci’s better recent novels.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, April 2015.