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Zero Day cover art

Zero Day

By: David Baldacci
Narrated by: Ron McLarty,Orlagh Cassidy
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Summary

John Puller is a former war hero and now the best military investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division. He is a loner with few possessions by preference, but he has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable determination for finding the truth. His father was the most decorated U.S. Marine in history, but now resides in a nursing home far from his battlefield glory. Puller’s older brother, also a military vet, is serving a life sentence in Leavenworth Penitentiary. Puller is called out to a remote, rural area far from any military outpost to investigate into the brutal murder of a family in their home. The dead husband was in the army and the wife worked for a Pentagon contractor. The local homicide detective, a woman with personal demons of her own, clashes with Puller over the investigation. What neither of them knows is what is waiting for them across the street from the murdered family’s home. It is something that will turn an already complicated case on its head. As Puller digs through deception after red herring, he realizes that absolutely nothing, and nobody, he’s so far seen in this small town, are what they seem. He is truly one man against an overwhelming force.

©2011 Columbus Rose, Ltd. (P)2011 Macmillan Digital Audio

What listeners say about Zero Day

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Beware loud music

This story was very enjoyable and well up to David Baldacci's usual standard. The narration was also very good, and it helped to have two narrators. So much for the positives. For me there was one overwhelming negative, and that was the loud intrusive "music" and sound effects which covered quite long sessions of narration. Perhaps it's an age thing, but I found it very difficult to hear the story in parts - it was so bad I almost abandoned the book about an hour from the end. I suppose book producers think it adds atmosphere or is clever, and perhaps some listeners like it. To me it's just very ANNOYING, like trying to read a book in a crowded room. I wish book descriptions would issue warnings of this sort of addition to the narration as it seems to be an increasing trend. I won't be taking a chance on any recent David Baldacci books in future.

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98 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

BACKGROUND NOISE

Another good book spoiled by background noise. Whoever controls the recording just doesn't understand that when listening to a book you feel relaxed. If I wanted to listen to bombs going off, guns firing, rocks falling or motorbikes skidding I would watch TV. If I wanted to listen to music would listen to radio. If I want a book I will listen to a book. Don't want background noise that is so loud that you can't hear the story and have to keep going back to catch the words. Book good, production rubbish won't be buying another. This is the 3rd I've tried and all been spoiled by this stupid background noise.

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32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Haven't We Met Before?

Let me see now. Super-tough army investigator, big guy, combat experience and very good at what he does? Yes, the likeness of John Puller to Jack Reacher is easy to spot and the comparison is fair to make. Of course this is a crowded genre but I think there's room for both. On top of that Puller is more talkative, doesn't have the vagrant tendencies and is operating within the military machine. He's different enough and in fact a couple of the recent Reacher novels are more like this with Jack co-operating, as much as he ever does, with other agencies.

I'm sure some people will be put off by the similarity but I think I'll choose to enjoy both even if I do want to crown Reacher the King at this point. Puller though promises plenty to come. His family background with his ailing father's history and his black sheep brother all offer plenty of future possibilities.

Typical of Baldacci this audiobook sports some studio effects and music combined with dual narration. I think both work well. McLarty isn't the most dynamic and needs a bit of help so having Orlagh Cassidy to support with the female voices really makes a difference. A couple of earlier reviewers have mentioned that the background production interfered with the narrative. Possibly the sound levels have been re-engineered because at no point did I find them at all intrusive. I thought they added a little extra spice to the experience.

As for the story it's fairly exciting even if it does seem pretty far-fetched at times. At first glance the ending seems especially "out there" but this at least is explained away quite nicely in the round up. It's a book that left me well-satisfied and I will progress through the series in the future.

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18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Exciting Action Thriller - Excellent

This was an excellent book, well written, well read and well produced. The male and female actors do a tremendous job in bringing the book alive and the production values are first rate. As an action thriller, this in the first division. It has good pace, lots of well-drawn characters, a satisfyingly complex, but consistent, plot. And twists and turns that keep you guessing to the end. If you do not enjoy this then it will probably be because you do not like the genre. This is as good as this kind of novel gets.

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15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

The indestructable Soldier

Just as Stone was impervious to mortal dangers, though those close to him do die on occasions, so it is with WO Puller a senior, much decorated detective of the CID branch of the US Army. He is sent on detached duty to investigate a case that grows into a National threat without much support from a sycophantic senior command. Fortunately Puller is aided by a feisty female police sergeant who, like Stone's associates, is doomed from the first time that you meet her. The narrative pace is fast and furious characteristic of Baldacci though the story becomes predictable. What gains the third star is the fine reading given by Ron McLarty and especially Orlagh Cassidy whose laconic interpretation of the female sergeant was first class.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Copying Jack Reacher a bit too much!

As the title implies, Mr Child should be a bit miffed, as Mr Baldacci introduces a new character almost the twin of Jack Reacher. He is an army McGuyver, pretty much able to do anything and it called in to help a small town sheriff in W Virginia when a soon to be retired army man and his family are assassinated.

The attention to detail is impressive and the feeling of a poor town, where nobody really cares is sad, as drugs, unemployment and illness due to the coal mining take its toll. However, it's a gripping story, and you're never sure whether the army or the mining company is the baddy; and unusually for an audiobook, there's background music and sound effects which actually add to the drama.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing and dull

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who likes their heroes to be perfect and enjoys reading books with implausible story lines, one dimensional characters, confused endings and very little tension.

What could David Baldacci have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

John Puller could have been a great character, instead he comes across as a know-it-all, who is always in control and always wins the fight. This means there is zero tension whenever Puller is in trouble, because the reader knows that he will fix the problem and come out on top (the fact that there is a series of books dedicated to this character also means that he's never at risk of dying in any of the dangerous situations he gets into because he has to survive in order to appear in the sequel, a bit like James Bond, but infinitely less sexy).

Puller also comes across like a Mills & Boon hero - and not in a good way - he's physically perfect (tall, over six foot), well built ("fills the door frame" when he's standing in it), women fancy him and he has buckets of medals to show how brave he is. He doesn't have any obvious flaws and no human weaknesses (except for some bad combat dreams) - which probably makes him one of the most boring protagonists I've ever encountered.

The end was also a huge let down - after investing many hours trying to figure out who the bad guys were, it all gets resolved in the last 30 mins or so in an almost dismissive manner. It felt like Baldacci had run out of steam, as if he'd got a bit bored with his own book and decided to wrap it up and move on to something new. I felt cheated. I deserved a better pay off for all the time I'd invested and the extreme amounts of patience I had shown in hanging in there until the end.

Have you listened to any of Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes - I've listened to Baldacci's "Memory Man" which Ron and Orlagh narrated. I have to say that Ron and Orlagh are very good indeed. I knocked off one star because Ron struggles to give different characters different voices, which sometimes means the listener isn't quite sure who is speaking, but it's a small quibble. Their collaboration on "Zero Day" was a lot smoother and less disjointed than in "Memory Man", so that was a plus too.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

This audio book uses music and sound effects in an interesting way - which do help to heighten the tension.

The female lead character was strong and well drawn. It's always good to find stories where the woman isn't the helpless victim - so kudos for that.

I also learned a few things I didn't know about how the Army operates, which provided an interesting insight into this particular world.

Any additional comments?

I really wanted to like John Puller, but he just came across as too robotic - if he'd had some human flaws, then I think he would have made a very interesting, multi-faceted character. Perhaps he gets better in the rest of the series, but after this disappointment, I'm afraid that I won't be listening to any more to find out.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

really enjoyable and well written.

I can say that i'm a lee child fan and this book was not far from his talented school of writing, the narrative and characters were excellent, highly enjoyable and hard to put down, highly recommend

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Love Jack Reacher... and now John Puller!

As another reviewer said, the hero is a shameless clone of Jack Reacher... but, if you like Lee Child's Jack Reacher, then you'll like David Baldacci's John Puller! Good story, pace, detail and, also, well read. I found Zero Day to be ideal audiobook material (one good story line - not too much concentration required) and I enjoyed the additional sound effects. Keep them coming, Mr Baldacci!

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story and narration

Read by the same pairing as The Innocent, this is a cracking, fast paced story with good production value. Not all audios have the little sound affects but once you get used to it, you'll find it adds to the tension. Used very sparingly here so as not to overdo it.
Ron's voice is gravel city and he really keeps the interest up with great characterisations. Same for Orlagh, and the pairing really works.
Thoroughly recommended if you like your thrillers with some action.

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4 people found this helpful