A Gambling Man – David Baldacci – 2021 – Book Review
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary – A Gambling Man
This is the second book of the Aloysius Archer series, after the 2019 release of ‘One Good Deed‘ which debuted another of David Baldacci‘s intriguing protagonists. This is not modern times – it’s set in 1949, some time Archer has been released by the US Army, after fighting in the Second World War. An ex-con, Archer, as he likes to be called, has served a three year sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. And then on his release, had his share of adventures in the little known town of Poca City.
At the end of his shenanigans there, Archer gets a tip for a job as an apprentice PI in Bay Town, California. The FBI veteran Willie Dash has a practice there and he’d be keen to look at Archer as his underling. So off goes Archer to Bay Town. On his way, however, he makes a pit stop at another small town – Reno. Here, he meets a singer at a bar, Liberty Callahan and also an old man who seeks his help.
But Archer is intent on going his way, but not before he snares Liberty as his companion for the journey (Liberty wants to go to Los Angeles to be a movie star) and buys a rare car (the Delahaye) from the old man – as a favor to him. After an eventful journey from Reno to Bay Town, Archer meets Willie Dash and gets employed. On his first case, they are retained to find a blackmailer who is threatening to expose the town’s Mayoral candidate – who is also the son-in-law of the most powerful and rich man in town – Sawyer Armstrong.
There is something amiss in the uber rich family and as Archer gets deeper into the investigation, dead bodies start dropping all around him. Mind you, this is the late 1940’s, where investigations were based on a reading a lot of paper, intuition and the ability to deduce. There is somebody in this town, who is masterminding the whole string of events and that person will not stop at one or two murders if it comes in the way of his ambition. Liberty, meanwhile, finds employment as a Singer in the town’s jazziest Pub/Bar and with her talent, is an instant show-stealer!
Conclusion – Book Review of A Gambling Man
This is a far better page turner than the first book of the series, as if Baldacci is now hitting his strides with this series. The character of Aloysius Archer is far more fleshed out now and his semi-platonic relationship with Liberty is refreshingly sweet. While most readers of crime thrillers will have the perpetrator in their sights soon enough, Baldacci doesn’t straightaway go there and winds through plot lines to finally get there.
As I mentioned earlier, this is very smoothly paced and it doesn’t quite slow down at all. Something is always happening and the Second World War setting adds a decidedly quaint touch to it. Liberty as a character, adds a lot of steel to the story, as does the seasoned and grizzled PI – Willie Dash. Overall, it’s a very lovable story and thus highly recommended for a read, particularly for the fans of the crime thriller genre.