In this fast-paced historical thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci introduces Archer, a WWII veteran forced to investigate a small-town murder -- or risk returning to prison.
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 do´s and a much longer list of don´ts: 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.