David Baldacci’s unusual creation, Amos Decker, the man with a perfect memory, returns in the fifth book of the series—Redemption.
For those who may not have encountered Decker before, a football injury in his youth, rewired his brain so that he is unable to forget anything–a medical condition known as hyperthymesia. He also suffers from synesthesia, which means his brain associates different emotions with a particular colour—like blue for death.
In previous books in the series, Decker hit rock bottom and lost his job as a cop, when his wife, daughter and brother-in-law were brutally murdered, and fingers pointed at him—the ordeal made worse by his inability to forget the sight of them lying dead in his house. Later, he is rehabilitated and absorbed into the FBI by the sympathetic Ross Bogart; he has as partner and friend, former journalist, Alex Jamison.
Decker’s gigantic size, strength and unique memory make him an asset for the force, even though he is emotionally messed up. Every year, he returns to his hometown on his daughter’s birthday to visit the graves of his family. At the cemetery, a called Meryl Hawkins approaches him and claims, that twelve years ago, Decker had sent him to prison for multiple murders he did not commit. Now, he is dying of cancer and demands his name be cleared.
His former partner, Mary Lancaster, thinks the man who has spent so many years in jail, deserves a hearing at least. By the time, they reach his hotel room to talk, he has been shot dead.
Who would kill a man with a few days to live, unless there is a reason to silence him. Now Decker is convinced Hawkins was indeed innocent, and his conscience will not let him rest till he finds out the truth, even it means putting his own career on the line. From what Hawkins tells him, Decker suspects that in his enthusiasm to crack his first homicide case, as a rookie cop, he may have overlooked certain vital clues.
As Decker starts digging, it does look like all the clues they found on the scene of the crime, that helped indict Hawkins were too conveniently planted. When he is at the lowest rung of despair, and Jamison is pulled off the case, who should turn up but his buddy Melvin Mars? Decker had saved Mars from death row in the second book of the series, The Last Mile. Mars has become a sidekick, who rallies around to help Decker, just for the adventure.
When the body count starts growing, Decker realises he is up against a powerful enemy. Baldacci’s writing is always smooth; this book has more twists than the usual investigative thriller, even if the solution to the mystery is bit far-fetched. Redemption allows for breaks when Decker handholds Lancaster through a crisis and the impeccably dressed Mars gets to flirt with the town’s beautiful and mysterious entrepreneur, Rachel Katz. Maybe it’s time Mars got his own series in which Decker makes ‘guest’ appearances, since his total recall plot device has stretched as far as it could go.