But now, his skills have left him. Sent overseas on a critical assignment, he fails, unable to pull the trigger. Absent his talents, Robie is a man without a mission, and without a purpose.
To recover what he has lost, Robie must confront what he has tried to forget for over twenty years: his own past.
Will Robie escaped his small Gulf Coast hometown of Cantrell, Mississippi after high school, severing all personal ties, and never looked back. Not once. Not until the unimaginable occurs. His father, Dan Robie, has been arrested and charged with murder.
Father and son haven't spoken or seen each other since the day Robie left town. In that time, Dan Robie-a local attorney and pillar of the community-has been elected town judge. Despite this, most of Cantrell is aligned against Dan. His guilt is assumed.
To make matters worse, Dan has refused to do anything to defend himself. When Robie tries to help, his father responds only with anger and defiance. Could Dan really be guilty?
With the equally formidable Jessica Reel at his side, Robie ignores his father's wishes and begins his own desperate investigation into the case. But Robie is now a stranger to his hometown, an outsider, a man who has forsaken his past and his family. His attempts to save his father are met with distrust and skepticism . . . and violence.
Unlike the missions Robie undertook in the service of his country, where his target was clearly defined, digging into his father's case only reveals more questions. Robie is drawn into the hidden underside of Cantrell, where he must face the unexpected and possibly deadly consequences of the long-ago choices made by father and son. And this time, there may be no escape for either of them.
What I liked: The characters! Most of this series is more action driven but The Guilty has a bit slower pace and more emphasis is placed on the characters, especially Will Robie's past. Until this book, Robie was really only defined as a government assassin with some morals and a conscience. Now, we get to see not only were he came from but learn more about his family life. Believe me, it's not all peaches and cream.
Robie has a living father, imagine that. The dynamics in that relationship are somewhat expected, I guess, but definitely sad. The other part I found intriguing is Robie actually wanted/needed his sometimes partner, Jessica Reel!!. They are two of a kind and fit together very well. I'm glad Mr. Baldacci is continuing their friendship in this series. This series is good but their relationship makes it better.
The descriptions of the small town of !!!! resonates with me. Everyone does know everyone else's business and it's hard not to in such a small town. Robie left Cantrell twenty some years ago and has never been back. When an op goes horribly wrong, Robie needs to step back and re-evaluate not only his profession but his life as a whole. Enter a big distraction from his own troubles when he finds out his father has been arrested for murder. The relationship dynamic between father and son is a big part of the story as they've had no contact in over twenty years, since Robie just up and left without looking back.
From the time Robie arrives in town, it seems like there is one murder after another with no seemingly connection. But is there one? Will Robie and Reel be able to find the murderer before more citizens are killed? And what's the motive as the victims seem to have little in common, well, maybe one thing!
I was completely baffled and had no clue who the murderer was until right before the big reveal. Those are are my kind of books. I like to be surprised but that wasn't my favorite thing about The Guilty. As I mentioned before, it was the characters and their connections and interactions that more than held my attention.
What I didn't like: The Guilty isn't as frantic as the previous three books in the Will Robie series but the mystery and characters more than make up for that.
The Guilty is a good, well-paced read and a better than average murder mystery.
Recommended, but again, this is one of those series that needs to be read in order for optimal enjoyment.