The 6:20 Man
by David Baldacci
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Pub Date 12 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 12 Aug 2022
Every day without fail, Travis Devine puts on a cheap suit, grabs his faux-leather briefcase, and boards the 6:20 commuter train to Manhattan, where he works as an entry-level analyst at the city’s most prestigious investment firm. In the mornings, he gazes out the train window at the lavish homes of the uberwealthy, dreaming about joining their ranks. In the evenings, he listens to the fiscal news on his phone, already preparing for the next grueling day in the cutthroat realm of finance. Then one morning Devine’s tedious routine is shattered by an anonymous email: She is dead.
Sara Ewes, Devine’s coworker and former girlfriend, has been found hanging in a storage room of his office building—presumably a suicide, at least for now—prompting the NYPD to come calling on him. If that wasn’t enough, before the day is out, Devine receives another ominous visit, a confrontation that threatens to dredge up grim secrets from his past in the army unless he participates in a clandestine investigation into his firm. This treacherous role will take him from the impossibly glittering lives he once saw only through a train window, to the darkest corners of the country’s economic halls of power . . . where something rotten lurks. And apart from this high-stakes conspiracy, there’s a killer out there with their own agenda, and Devine is the bull’s-eye.
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David Baldacci’s gift for writing fleshed out characters that feel larger than life and supremely entertaining makes The 6:20 Man a distinctive thriller set in cutthroat Wall Street setting with a charismatic and impressionable protagonist who has quickly become a favorite of mine.
Travis Devine is a character who speaks to all readers who feel lost in the constant hustle bustle of making money at the cost of their sanity. Trading in his Army uniform for a Wall Street suit, he rides the daily 6:20 train to work, joined by others like him on the constant prowl for success. What starts off like just another office day turns cruel quickly when a former flame of Devine turns up dead in the office storage room, supposedly having killed herself; only thing is that Devine receives a cryptic message that screams otherwise. With a megalomaniac at the helm of Devine’s firm making some unsavory decisions to make quick and dirty buck, Devine finds himself embroiled in a financial conspiracy spanning global territories. He must utilize his army training as well as his street smarts to get to the heart of the conspiracy before the bullseye finds its way on his back.
The 6:20 Man is superbly paced throughout, starting off with a gentle ease to introduce Devine and his predicaments to gel well with the readers before the momentum picks up speed and propels readers and Devine alike into the mystery. The action is akin to the Reacher series, with powerful descriptions of hand to hand combat sequences and crisp shootouts. Devine’s physical prowess is a delight to read as he gets into skirmishes with antagonists and tackles his opponents with awe-inspiring moves.
Not only is Devine proficient at dispatching threats, he’s also a very convincing leading hero to have a whole narrative centered around him. Baldacci’s singular focal point on Devine in the entirety of the narrative immensely elevates the unpredictability of the plot and makes for a much more page-burning intense read as you can’t help but follow Devine into battle as a modern day knight in shining armor. Devine embodies the best of humanity in the worst of situations, from religious beliefs to general empathy towards his fellow peers, making him that much easy to root for.
The 6:20 Man offers a gleaming insight into the world of finance with technical details to spruce up the content aligned with the plot without becoming too overbearing for non-finance majors. The beauty of the narrative however lies in the experience that even 80% into the narrative, you won’t have all the pieces to solve the gut-wrenching mystery. It’s only at the moment of truth where the WOAH factor kicks in to paint the full picture that sparked the entire conspiracy. It’s a twist I did not see coming.
Dark, visceral, action-packed, and at times disturbing, The 6:20 Man is an extraordinary kickoff to a brand new protagonist by an author who understands the essence of establishing an enchanting leading character with memorable moments and a distinctive storyline.
Full review on https://www.bestthrillerbooks.com/kashif-hussain
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