Redemption by David Baldacci Read Online (FREE)
Originally published: April 9, 2019
Author: David Baldacci
Preceded by: The Fallen
ON A REFRESHINGLY BRISK, beautifully clear fall evening, Amos Decker was surrounded by dead bodies. Yet he wasn’t experiencing the electric blue light sensation that he usually did when confronted by the departed.
There was a perfectly good reason for this: None of these were recent deaths.
He was back in his hometown of Burlington, Ohio, an old factory city that had seen better days. He had recently been in another Rust Belt town, Baronville, Pennsylvania, where he had narrowly escaped death. If he had his druthers, he would have avoided such minefields for the foreseeable future, maybe the rest of his life.
Only right now he didn’t have a choice.
Decker was in Burlington because today was his daughter Molly’s fourteenth birthday. Under normal circumstances, this would have been a happy occasion, a cause for joy. But Molly had been murdered, along with his wife, Cassie, and his brother-in-law, Johnny Sacks. This devastating event had happened shortly before her tenth birthday, when Decker found them all dead in their home.
Gone forever. Taken from life in the most outrageous manner possible by a deranged mind hell-bent on violence. Their killer was no longer among the living, but that was of absolutely no solace to Decker, though he’d been instrumental in ending that life.
That was why his birthday visit was at a cemetery. No cake, and no presents. Just fresh flowers on a grave to replace ones long dead from a previous visit.
He figured he would be here for every one of Molly’s birthdays until he joined his family six feet under. That was his long-term plan. He had never contemplated any other.
He shifted his weight on the wood and wrought-iron bench next to the twin graves, for daughter lay next to mother. The bench had been gifted by the Burlington Police Department where Decker had once toiled, first as a beat cop and later as a homicide detective. On it, tarnished by weather, was a brass plaque that read: In memory of Cassie and Molly Decker.
There was no one else in the small cemetery other than Decker’s partner at the FBI, Alex Jamison. More than a dozen years younger than the mid-fortyish Decker, Jamison stood a respectful distance away, allowing her partner to visit his family in solitude.
Once a journalist, Jamison was now a fully fledged, duly sworn-in FBI special agent, having graduated from the Bureau’s Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Under a prior arrangement, she had been sent immediately back to the task force where she and Decker were members, along with two other veteran agents, Ross Bogart and Todd Milligan.
Sitting next to the graves, Decker cursed his condition of hyperthymesia. The perfect recall had been initiated by a wicked blindside hit on an NFL playing field that triggered a traumatic brain injury. Decker awoke from a coma with the ability to remember everything and the inability to forget anything. It seemed like a wonderful attribute, but there was a distinct downside to the condition.