How does David Baldacci do it? With seven book series, this one will make it the eighth, along with standalone thrillers, how he does not get confused? I just do not know. Long Road to Mercy is the opening salvo in the new Atlee Pine series, a kickass female FBI agent based out in Arizona.

Atlee Pine is called out to a case in the middle of the Grand Canyon, a man is missing and there is a mutilated mule with an inscription left on it. As she and the park rangers dig deeper, what starts out as a simple dead mule and missing person case turns into one about national security and all things that make Pine question herself.

What Pine does not realise is that she is about to kick over a rock and all sorts of awful stuff will begin to crawl out. With the FBI telling her to take leave after an ‘accident’, Pine and her secretary begin an investigation out of the sight of her superiors. Unfortunately for them, they are being watched, by people unknown, who seem to have the support of her own government.

The more they dig, the more they find some members of the government and military have lost the plot, so much so they are making Americans disappear on American soil. As Pine delves further, all roads lead back to the Grand Canyon and the secrets that are hidden somewhere within. What is clear, is that Pine needs all the help she can get to solve the case, which looks against the odds when you have your own military looking for you.

At the same time, we discover she has her own demons she is trying to escape, while trying to track a killer and those who may even be traitors to her country.

A brilliant introduction to a new character who will continue to develop.

Paul Diggett 5/5

Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci
Macmillan 9781509874330 hbk Nov 2018