At the beginning of the story Special Agent Pine saves a little girl and, triggered by her PTSD, nearly kills the perpetrator. She is ordered to take leave and decides to go back to Georgia where she grew up and where the terrible events happened when she was six years old. At that time her twin was abducted and Pine was left with a fractured skull and near fatal injuries. She still has flashbacks and half memories of that terrible night.
But when she returns to the place where it all happened, with her assistant Carol Blum, she soon feels the town is a place which seems to be hiding secrets from her. People know more than they are willing to tell her. Meanwhile four murders take place and Pine increasingly feels her presence has been some sort of catalyst.
The story moves at a fast, high octane pace. Pine has impressive physical prowess, a mixture of natural athleticism and intensive training. She handles car chases, shoot outs and booby traps with skill and lucky intuition, encountering characters who, variously, seem as though they could have had something to do with what happened thirty years ago. There are plenty of red herrings, woven into the plot structure creating an absorbing and action-packed read.
By the end of the story some of the secrets about what happened that night thirty years ago have been unravelled, but there’s a lot more still to discover. “A Long Road to Mercy” was the first in the series and “Daylight”, the third, was released in Autumn 2020. The thread running through them all is Pine’s search to finding out the truth of what happened to her and her twin sister and why her mother disappeared when Pine was in college.
A Minute to Midnight published by Pan Macmillan is second in the Atlee Pine series, by internationally bestselling author David Baldacci.