Friday 31 January 2020

Book Review: A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci

A Minute to Midnight
David Baldacci

From #1 bestselling author David Baldacci comes the gripping second novel in the Atlee Pine series, a tenacious female FBI Special Agent assigned to the wilds of the western US.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia 
Publication date: 29th October 2019
Series: Atlee Pine #2
Genre: Crime / Murder mystery 
Pages: 464
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher 

Atlee Pine has spent most of her life trying to find out what happened that fateful night in Andersonville, Georgia. Her six-year-old twin sister, Mercy, was taken and Atlee was left for dead while their parents were apparently partying downstairs. One person who continues to haunt her is notorious serial killer, Daniel James Tor, confined to a Colorado maximum security prison. Does he really know what happened to Mercy?

The family moved away. The parents divorced. And Atlee chose a career with the FBI dedicating her life to catching those who hurt others. When she oversteps the mark on the arrest of a dangerous criminal, she's given a leave of absence offering the perfect opportunity to return to where it all began, and find some answers. But the trip to Andersonville turns into a roller-coaster ride of murder, long-buried secrets and lies.

And a revelation so personal that everything she once believed to be true is fast turning to dust.

A Minute to Midnight is the second novel in the special agent Atlee Pine series.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Atlee and finding out what makes her tick in the first novel. In this second story Atlee is still hung up over her sister’s disappearance almost thirty years ago. And rightly so! Mercy was her identical twin and not knowing what happened to her must be traumatic. However, after an incident that could have Atlee kicked out of the FBI she is told to take a holiday.

Atlee returns to her home town of Andersonville Georgia, home of the former confederate prisoner-of-war camp and now a historic site which Baldacci includes seamlessly into the story.

The story runs with two different plot lines. One being Atlee asking questions about her family and talking to people that were friends of her parents or those that lived in the town the time of her sister’s disappearance. The more she finds out the more the mystery of who her parents were and who she is deepens. The second plot line is the investigation of a string of bizarre murders that start not long after Atlee arrives in town.

Baldacci’s characterisation is brilliant and he quickly built up a cast of believable characters that lived in the small town of Andersonville.
I was much more invested in Atlee’s personal investigation than the mystery surrounding the murders although that part of the story was well wrapped up. I’m hoping Atlee receives some more concrete evidence about her sister in the next book.

Baldacci writes a fast paced and compelling read. It stands alone well, as any relevant backstory is filled in for the reader.

A Minute to Midnight is a highly recommended read for any thriller fans.


My rating   4/5
You can read my review of Long Road to Mercy here

Photo credit: Guy Bell

David Baldacci has been writing since childhood, when his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories. (Much later, when David thanked her for being the spark that ignited his writing career, she revealed that she’d given him the notebook to keep him quiet, "because every mom needs a break now and then.”) He published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996; it was subsequently adapted for film, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 40 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries, with over 130 million worldwide sales. David has also published seven novels for younger readers.

David and his wife, Michelle, are the co-founders of the Wish You Well Foundation®, which supports family and adult literacy programs in the United States. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and used books have been collected and distributed through food banks to families in need.

A lifelong Virginian, David is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia School of Law. 



  1. Sounds good, thanks for sharing your thoughts

    1. I’ve enjoyed both the Attlee Pine books. I just want to know what happened to Mercy now!