TMR Book Review: True Blue by David Baldacci

44152135Mace Perry, a former Washington DC police officer, sits in a crowded jail, impatiently finishing out her two year jail term. She was framed, but hell, isn’t everyone who’s in jail? But in Mace’s case, she really was. Mace was working undercover, deep, when she was discovered, beaten and drugged, then left for dead. She was found with a pocket full of drugs and her face all over the video tape of an armed robbery. They called her the DC Patty Hearst. All evidence pointed to her guilt, that she crossed over to the other side. So, here she sits, waiting to get out and get her good name back. Waiting for the opportunity to be a “true blue” again.

So begins David Baldacci’s newest novel, True Blue (Grand Central Publishing, 454 pages).

Mace is soon released and despite the stern warning to keep her nose clean from her sister, DC Chief of Police Beth Perry, she quickly finds herself looking for a way to prove herself again.

Roy Kingman, associate at a prestigious DC law firm, had just found one of his co-workers dead and bundled up in the office refrigerator. Mace just happens to be with Beth when she answers the initial call and goes with her to the crime scene. This immediately piques Mace’s interest. This is the perfect opportunity for Mace to prove to everyone that she is still worthy of wearing a uniform.

Together with Kingman, Mace investigates, albeit through some rather interesting and unorthodox means since they are doing so with the direct disapproval of the police chief. Before long, they realize that there is a lot more going on than just some associate at a law firm getting killed.

Their investigation leads to corruption that goes very high up the rungs of the Washington DC power ladder, and the people standing on those rungs will do anything to keep their names away from the story. Anything.

This is not the first time that Baldacci has used this theme. In fact, he’s used it several times in other novels. The good news is it never seems to get old. All the way back to his first novel, Absolute Power, he has used the idea that the more power you have, the more corrupt you are.

Parts of this book felt very realistic, particularly when Mace and Kingman were in the DC streets talking to people and when Mace was talking to other cops. Baldacci uses certain vernacular that seems to be very specific to DC cops, like calling the area where they hang out “hoodles” and calling the bad guys “bandits” instead of “perps”.

Other parts of the story required quite a bit more suspension of belief. Especially the parts of the story when the sisters were together. It is very hard to believe that a Chief of Police of a major US city would give anyone the latitude that Beth continuously gave to Mace and Kingman, sister or not.

According to Amazon, this is the first book in a new Baldacci series. Overall, the story came to a satisfying conclusion and I wouldn’t mind seeing another Perry Sisters story. Without question, there is still more story to tell and more mysteries to solve that Mace and Kingman can handle in more unconventional ways than Beth is allowed to.