Closure Isn’t So Easy to Come By in David Baldacci’s ‘A Minute To Midnight’ [REVIEW]


To keep her job, a woman must return to her hometown and face the night her life changed forever. (Photo by Canva)

We all have that one pivotal moment in our lives where we realize nothing will ever be the same again. For one FBI agent, it was the night her sister was abducted and she was nearly killed herself. Now she must return to the scene of the crime and face the demons of her past if she is ever going to have a future. But what happens when she encounters an evil more dangerous than she ever dreamed? Find out in David Baldacci’s second Atlee Pine thriller, A Minute to Midnight.


Grand Central

Thirty years have passed since the night FBI Agent Atlee Pine’s twin sister Mercy was kidnapped—and most likely killed. Trauma like that has a way of sticking with a girl, and Atlee has never been able to shake her anger entirely, no matter how hard she has tried. When that anger threatens her job, she knows she must return to Georgia to deal with the past once and for all and hopefully return with some closure.

With her assistant Carol Blum in tow, the duo heads back to Atlee’s small hometown to see if they can dig up some clues, even if they are three decades old. But no sooner do they begin their investigation, then a local woman is brutally murdered and found with a veil covering her face. That first murder is soon followed by a second.

Determined to solve her sister’s case as well as the new one, Atlee and Carol find themselves in a race against the clock, needing to catch a potential serial killer before a third victim is claimed. Small towns are notorious hotbeds of secrets and vice, and someone will go to great lengths to keep her from digging too deep. But who? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I feel like I’m always in a holding pattern, anxiously awaiting David Baldacci’s next novel regardless of the series. So it’s no wonder that I was sad to finish reading A Minute to Midnight. Because like many of you, I want to know what happens next!

As my husband so kindly points out, however, writers need variety. So Baldacci is probably plotting a book in another series and my hopes of another Atlee Pine novel hitting the shelves within the next six months are dashed to pieces. Still, I’ve been telling everyone at work, including all the patrons who come in the library looking for a new series to read, to take a chance and pick up the Atlee Pine novels.

What I truly enjoy in this chapter of Atlee’s story is the arc her character makes between the first few pages and the final one. Baldacci writes her so well, I connect to her on an elemental level. She is a woman frustrated with the uncertainty of her sister’s fate. The scenario of what transpired when she was eight years old haunts her every waking (and sleeping) moment. No wonder she is consumed with guilt and riddled with questions. When she is unable to satisfactorily address either, she winds up taking her frustrations out on her job. As a result, she is put on notice and goes in search of answers with her boss’s blessing.

Something else my husband loves to remind me of is that a writer’s job is to never give a character what she wants, and that’s what happens here too. Just when Atlee gets the green light to investigate her own case, she is embroiled in another one. Talk about bad timing! Baldacci uses this conflict to his advantage, however, and takes this opportunity to mold Atlee’s character, bit by bit, until we come to truly understand the nuances of her personality and see exactly what makes her tick. He also softens her a bit, and examining her thoughts and actions allows us to see how she grows emotionally, and that’s my favorite part of this story.

I don’t want to give too much away, which is always a chance I take in talking about a story I like as much as I did this one. So just do yourself a favor and rush out to your local library or bookstore and pick up a copy of A Minute to Midnight. You’ll be glad you did!

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David Baldacci

David Baldacci
(Photo by Guy Bell,


David Baldacci is a global number one bestselling author and one of the world’s favorite storytellers

Several of his books have been adapted for film and television, including his 1996 debut novel, Absolute Power, which starred and was directed by Clint Eastwood.

More than 130 million copies of his books are in print worldwide, having been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries.

David is also the author of five novels for young readers, including the number one bestseller The Finisher, which is in development for a feature film, and its number one sequel, The Keeper

Together with his wife, Elizabeth, the Baldaccis founded the Wish You Well Foundation®, which supports family and adult literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of literacy and educational programs.

David lives in Virginia with his family. Visit his home on the Weblike him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

By David Baldacci
432 pp. Grand Central. $29.

Purchase A Minute to Midnight at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

About Heather Fink
Heather Fink is a writer, bibliophile and award-winning librarian who loves to introduce the next generation of readers to the wonderful world of books. She currently resides in Texas.

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