One Good Deed

One Good Deed

Book - 2019
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It's 1949. When war veteran Aloysius Archer is released from Carderock Prison, he is sent to Poca City on parole with a short list of dos and a much longer list of donts: do report regularly to his parole officer, don't go to bars, certainly don't drink alcohol, do get a job -- and don't ever associate with loose women. The small town quickly proves more complicated and dangerous than Archer's years serving in the war or his time in jail. Within a single night, his search for gainful employment -- and a stiff drink -- leads him to a local bar, where he is hired for what seems like a simple job: to collect a debt owed to a powerful local businessman, Hank Pittleman. Soon Archer discovers that recovering the debt won't be so easy. The indebted man has a furious grudge against Hank and refuses to pay; Hank's clever mistress has her own designs on Archer; and both Hank and Archer's stern parole officer, Miss Crabtree, are keeping a sharp eye on him. When a murder takes place right under Archer's nose, police suspicions rise against the ex-convict, and Archer realizes that the crime could send him right back to prison... if he doesn't use every skill in his arsenal to track down the real killer.
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Publishing, 2019
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781538750568
Branch Call Number: BALDACC
Characteristics: 422 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: 1 good deed

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Also available in ebook, audiobook, and large print format. ------
It's 1949. When war veteran Aloysius Archer is released from Carderock Prison, he is sent to Poca City on parole with a short list of dos and a much longer list of donts: do report regularly to his parole officer, don't go to bar... Read More »


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g
gloryb
Jan 14, 2020

An enjoyable mystery/detective story featuring Archer, an ex-army WWII soldier who finds himself embroiled in solving murders he is being accused of committing. The action occurs in a small farming town in a southern state some time after WWII. A southern drawl can be detected in the way the characters speak. The 1940s are evident in the fashions the characters wear, the cars they drive, and in their polite manners. This book was hard to put down as there were many surprises just as a chapter ended. I thought perhaps Archer, in the next book, would include Shaw the police detective who was working with Archer - they made a good pair, but the way the book ends it seems Archer in the next novel will be in a different town with different characters playing a role in his next adventure. Indeed, similar to a Jack Reacher story but set in a different time period.

r
Roxy0125
Jan 10, 2020

I really enjoyed this book. I hadn’t read what it was about before placing the hold so I was a little surprised when I got it. I’m glad I gave it a chance. I have read all of his other books and this is one of my favourites. I hope he continues to write books with Archer

s
sharon_3650
Dec 24, 2019

This was a fantastic read--kept me up for 2 nights until I finished it! A history buff, especially for major war periods, I consider myself well-read, reading 2-3 books each week plus 6 magazines and the daily AJC. So I disagree with another reviewer: this was extremely well-written. Describing the clothes, the price of meals, etc., helps one truly visualize the setting as the story unfolds. Most people are NOT history buffs and are NOT familiar with the details of life in the of the late 1940s. My oldest son is a Wounded Warrior Green Beret (over 24 years served) and more than a little familiar with military training. I am recommending this book to him because I enjoyed how Archer used his Army scout training in life.

Sharon, Lawrenceville

d
daveatefi
Dec 17, 2019

Pretty disappointed. Far too many paragraphs devoted to describing what each character is wearing, and they change clothes a lot. Again, poor knowledge of firearms: anybody who tries to "fan" a double-action Detective Special will tear up his palm and have even less accuracy. Character development was far below his normal writing. The plot wasn't very believable, either. I wish I had read something else.

n
NedSu
Nov 25, 2019

David Baldacci is a skilled writer with lots of titles. This novel, while a departure from his usual work, is still a worthy read. The author sees to be expanding his writing style and it is not without some hiccups. It is period novel, set in 1949, so the author places lots of tidbits to give us verisimilitude to set the stage. Some of it is annoying, like a detailed description of every female characters wardrobe. Why would a protagonist, who has spent the last several years in the Army or prisons, care or know about female fashion? Archer is set as the prototypical Reacher, and if the story continues, you can expect him to show up in another city, stay awhile, and move on. It's a good read with a promising future.

v
Vincent2017
Oct 25, 2019

A wonderful book. Thank you David Baldacci, Loved this.

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

Read and commented over a dozen of good to excellent Baldacci's novels and this one does not read the same, as if by collaboration with a lessor writer, like one of those from the publishing mill of James Patterson. Apparently to be a new series that features a handsome tough and smart ex-con that everyone opens up to share his/her innermost secrets with. To top it off, he becomes a seasoned trial lawyer over night in a factitious murder trial... A male fantasy thriller that a man who got a real way with women and in turn, women have their way with him.

You know it is not so hot when only 5 quotes are posted in goodreads.

h
harrybosch
Sep 08, 2019

In this very good read, Baldacci introduces a new character in Archer, whom we have likely not heard the last of. This was an interesting book, given that it was time set in the late 40's not long after WW2. The characters , dress, and cars were of that great time period, when the world was full of hope for a new peaceful world. a world where PC had not yet reared its ugly head, and there was none of it to contend with in this different story of a fresh new character in Archer.
There are touches of Jack Reacher in him, and the way he lives, and I'm sure we will meet him again.
I loved the descriptions of the cars of that time , classics like Cadillacs, Hudsons, Nash and Studebakers.
A very enjoyable story to be sure, but just a little too long drawn out towards the ending.

w
writermala
Aug 21, 2019

I'm used to reading present day books by David Baldacci. This book set in 1949 was different and it took a little 'getting used to.' Aloysius Archer is released from prison - after a sentence he shouldn't have been serving. He is sent to the small town of Poca City on parole. The sleepy little city has a lot going on in it and Archer is right in the middle of things. When a murder takes place he could well be accused of it so he sets out to solve the case. The action picks up with more deaths/murders and I kept reading hoping for a happy ending. It's worth reading but not as exciting as say the Amos Decker books.

p
peter_leitch
Aug 18, 2019

It reads like a Jack Reacher story.

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Quotes

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j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

Only 5 quotes posted in goodreads as of this morning. More herein:

He was fully twenty-five pounds heavier than when he’d gone into prison, but the extra weight was all muscle, grafted onto his arms, shoulders, chest, back, and legs, like thickened vines on a mature tree. In his socks he was exactly six feet one and a quarter. The Army had measured him years before. They were quite adept at calculating height. Though they had too frequently failed to supply him with enough ammunition for his M1 rifle or food for his belly, while he and his fellow soldiers were trying to free large patches of the world from an oddball collection of deranged men.

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

Westerns where the man got the gal. And detective novels, where the man got the gal and also caught the bad guy.
===
He was not yet thirty, was never married, and had no children, but one glance in the mirror showed a man who seemed older, his skin baked brown by the sun and further aged by being behind bars the rest of the time.
===
I’ve smoked on a train, on a Navy ship. And in a damn church. My old man smoked in the waiting room when I was being born, so they told me.
===
“Where you headed?” “Somewhere that’s not here,” said Archer.

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

The DOP probably had amassed a vast collection of statistics that clearly showed why the confluence of parolees and alcohol in close proximity to others drinking likewise was not a good thing. And when you threw in women, and more to the point, loose women, an apocalypse was the only likely outcome.
===
Betwixt old America where most now still live and new America that lies west of here. People pass through. Some stay. Most keep going because we can’t compete with the likes of Los Angeles and Frisco and that gambling haven in Las Vegas.
===
“She your wife?” asked Archer, though he saw no ring on her. ”I got me a wife, but she ain’t it,” said the man offhandedly.
===
“Been here a couple of minutes.” She did not return the gesture. ”Then you’re two minutes early.” “I guess my watch has the runs.”
===
“My way of looking at the world is that some folks do what they want, and they don’t care what happens to others, so long as it’s good for them.” “I try to be more optimistic.”

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

But a promissory note signed, with collateral laid against it, was a serious thing, he was finding. While perhaps some would see it as a small issue, the fact was, if debts remained unpaid, whatever followed would genuinely be the collapse of civilization as any of them would know it, Archer included. And he and millions of others had just fought a world war to ensure that neither anarchy nor fascism nor anything else would replace the reasonable screwing over of people without money by those who possessed damn near all of it.
===
He had found the Italians the far easier of the pair. They didn’t really want to fight, he reckoned, because every time he’d run into some, they were either drunk or eating their dinner. He wasn’t surprised they’d turned on Mussolini and stuck his head up on a pike. They probably wanted to simply get back to their pasta and bottles of wine and their women.

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

But a promissory note signed, with collateral laid against it, was a serious thing, he was finding. While perhaps some would see it as a small issue, the fact was, if debts remained unpaid, whatever followed would genuinely be the collapse of civilization as any of them would know it, Archer included. And he and millions of others had just fought a world war to ensure that neither anarchy nor fascism nor anything else would replace the reasonable screwing over of people without money by those who possessed damn near all of it.
===
He had found the Italians the far easier of the pair. They didn’t really want to fight, he reckoned, because every time he’d run into some, they were either drunk or eating their dinner. He wasn’t surprised they’d turned on Mussolini and stuck his head up on a pike. They probably wanted to simply get back to their pasta and bottles of wine and their women.

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

“Do you think life is that simple?” “Life has never struck me as being simple unless you’re determined to make it so.”
===
“What’d you study in college?” “Mostly the co-eds.” “ ou’re a laugh a minute until you’re not.”
===
“The Germans weren’t always good about leaving the keys behind when they abandoned their vehicles, so the Army taught me what to do.” “Good old Army,” she said. ”Providing skills you can use your whole felonious life.”
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I’d go there and pretend to be all sorts of things. A princess, Amelia Earhart, Jean Harlow, and Madame Curie.
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She put a hand over his mouth. ”Focus. I need you to focus. The night’s not getting any younger and neither are we.”
===
It was a four door, big-grilled Hudson Hornet with a chrome engine spoiler, a single red light on top, and a chrome-plated searchlight mounted on the driver’s-side door.

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

Fact was, she didn’t want to spend her life in some Podunk town, and I was her ticket out. But we didn’t have a ride, so we borrowed — ”
===
On the wall above that was a tapestry of a Revolutionary War battle scene hung from an ornately carved piece of what looked to be teak. It depicted gallant men dying gallantly seemingly without a thought as to their personal safety, only elegant, patriotic sacrifice in their dignified countenances. It was something Archer had never once seen in three-plus years of actual combat. For him, it had been a tedious and Spartan existence intersected with chaos, fear, and times of sporadic bravery mingled with anger, panic, hatred, self-pity, and sadness at those who had fallen, followed by a guilty relief at still being alive when the shooting had stopped.

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

I shot a bunch of Germans and Italians. Then I killed some with my grenades, and some with my bayonet when it came down to man-to-man slogging it out. Slit one’s throat with my knife. Killed one man with my bare hands when we both ran out of bullets. Broke his neck the way I’d been taught.” “My God, Archer. That must’ve done something to you.” “How do you mean?” “You can’t kill all those people and not be affected by it.” “It’s what I was trained to do.” “Didn’t you feel anything?” “Yeah, I felt damn lucky I was alive, and they weren’t”
===
Heroes are special people who do things they’re not expected to do. I was just a grunt doing my job like millions of other grunts.
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“Hell, Archer, if I had a dollar for every man who’s killed another man over a woman, I’d be a damn Rockefeller.”
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“You’re up early, Archer.” “Don’t like to let the grass grow under my feet. You never know when you might get yanked off’ em.”

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

“Mr. Archer, there is no more complex relationship in the world than that of a mother and her daughter.”
===
The truth not only can hurt, but also can have the capacity to destroy. Do you understand that? ”
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I’d like the straight dope without all the gobbledygook. ”
===
“It’s a dystopian novel set in 1984, hence the name.” “Long time from here.” He added in a puzzled fashion,” Dystopian?” “It’s about life in 1984 as the writer sees it. The people are oppressed, the government knows all. People spy on each other. No one has any free thought.” “I think we just fought a war to stop that from happening.” “I think we did, too. Let’s hope it was enough.”
===
“Heard you got work at the slaughterhouse. How’re the hogs doing?” “Not too good, actually, considering their only job is to die.

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2019

“Don’t try to figure out women, Mr. Shaw. You would just be wasting your time.” “Hell, boy, I know that. I got a wife and a daughter
===
“That poor woman looked like she just saw a freight train coming right for her.”
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She told me she chose to be Pittleman’s chattel, like it was her job or something. I still can’t figure that out.” “So you believe she made the wrong choice then?” “Well, don’t you?” “I have no right to judge her, as I haven’t walked in her shoes.”
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Sometimes it’s the ones that look and act like angels you got to watch out for.
===
“Well, you got to because it’s the only way we’re gonna get to the truth, Archer.” “That seems a long way away right now.” “Hell, son, it always does, up until the moment you fall right over the damn thing.”

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