12 Best David Baldacci Books You Should Read

Since he has written several series and standalones, you may be wondering about the best David Baldacci books you should read first. But picking the best books in an author’s bibliography is always incredibly subjective. For that reason, we’ve used Goodreads data to compile our list of his best books.

This will pull from thousands of readers and reviewers for a more comprehensive list of the top 12 best David Baldacci books. Our list features plenty of first books in series, but since we’re basing this list off reviews, it will also include books from later on in series as well.

About David Baldacci

David Baldacci’s debut novel came out in 1995 and since then he has written more than 60 books. If you would like to learn more about everything Baldacci has written throughout the course of his career, you can read our article about the David Baldacci Books in Order.

However, before he became a bestselling author, Baldacci was a practicing attorney. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University before getting his law degree from the University of Virginia. He then moved to D.C. to begin practicing law.

His debut novel was a political thriller, which combines his experience in law and living in D.C. Collectively, he has now sold 150 million copies in more than 80 countries and lives in Vienna, Virginia.

Alongside his wife he is the cofounder of the Wish You Well Foundation, which is a non-profit organization to support literacy throughout the U.S. As a result of this, alongside his personal literary accomplishments, Baldacci will be receiving the 2024 PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion award. This is an annual award for literacy advocacy and Baldacci will receive his award in May 2024.

Best David Baldacci Books

Our list of the 12 best David Baldacci books will go through the books in descending order. Again, our list does feature multiple books from the same series, so this means books that take place later in a series may appear first. However, keep scrolling to find a list of the books at the end.

Long Road to Mercy Book Cover

12. Long Road to Mercy

Our list begins with the first book in the Atlee Pine series. The book introduces the FBI agent main character as she is assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona resident agency, which is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon. Long Road to Mercy has nearly 69,000 ratings and an average rating of 3.92.

Atlee Pine had a traumatic childhood. When she was six years old, a kidnapper chose between her and her twin sister Mercy. While Atlee was spared, she never saw Mercy again.

That was three decades ago and now Atlee is working for the FBI as the lone agent protecting the Grand Canyon. One of the mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon and its rider is missing. However, it becomes clear that something more clandestine than sightseeing was going on.

As Atlee is beginning to put the clues together, she receives orders to drop the case. If she refuses she’ll be disobeying direct orders, but Atlee can’t shake the feeling that discovering the truth is imperative for the future of democracy in America.

The Fallen David Baldacci

11. The Fallen

Next in our list of the best David Baldacci books is the fourth book in the Amos Decker series. However, this is certainly not the last time you will see the former pro-football player turned police detective on our list. The Fallen has nearly 67,000 ratings and an average rating of 4.22.

Amos Decker is a detective who cannot forget anything. Amos and his friend Alex Jamison, who is a journalist, are visiting the home of Alex’s sister in a small town that has been hit hard economically. While outside, Decker sees flickering lights and then a flame in the window of a house across the way.

When he goes to investigate, Decker finds two bodies inside with no clear cause of death. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Something is going on in the small town of Barronville that might be the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country.

The 620 Man Book Cover

10. The 6:20 Man

Cracking into the top ten best David Baldacci books is the first in his newest series: The 6:20 Man. It has more than 68,000 ratings and a 4.14 average rating. The first book, which shares its name with the series, describes the commuter train that Travis Devine takes into Manhattan every day for work.

Travis is an entry-level analyst at a prestigious investment firm. He has a repetitious routine that sees him through the days in the cutthroat world of finance. But then one morning his routine is shattered when he gets an anonymous email saying that she is dead.

Sara Ewes, Devine’s co-worker and former girlfriend, has been found hanging in a storage room of his office building. It is presumably a suicide, which prompts the police to visit him. That is followed by another visit which threatens to dredge up secrets from his past in the Army unless he agrees to participate in a clandestine investigation into his firm.

The Hit Best David Baldacci Books

9. The Hit

This is the second book in the Will Robie series, which follows the ruthless hitman the U.S. government relies on when its own resources can’t stop its enemies. The Hit has more than 68,000 ratings with an average rating of 4.15.

Robie is a highly skilled assassin, and the only person who can match his talents is Jessica Reel, a fellow assassin who has gone rogue. She is every bit as lethal as Robie and now she’s targeting other members of their agency. So, the government turns to Robie with the orders to bring in Reel, dead or alive.

But as he begins to pursue her, Robie realizes that there is more to her betrayal than his first assumption. Her attacks on the agency are hiding a larger threat that could send shockwaves throughout the government and the world.

Split Second David Baldacci

8. Split Second

Next is the first book in the Sean King & Michelle Maxwell series, which follows two former Secret Service agents who become private investigators. Split Second has more than 74,000 ratings with an average rating of 4.04.

Eight years ago, Sean King botched the job of protecting a presidential candidate. Meanwhile, Michelle Maxwell has just let a presidential candidate out of her sight for a moment and now he has vanished. The two agents are about to see their destinies converge in a maze of lies, secrets, and deadly coincidences.

That’s because the separate acts of violence that ruined their lives were a long time in the making. They are also a long way from over.

The Fix Book Cover

7. The Fix

The second Amos Decker book to feature on our list of the best David Baldacci books is the third in the series. The Fix has more than 75,000 ratings and a 4.18 average rating.

Amos Decker watches as a man shoots a woman point-blank on a crowded sidewalk outside FBI headquarters before he turns the gun on himself. Even for Decker the murder is baffling. He can find no connection between the shooter, a family man with a successful consulting business, and his victim, a schoolteacher.

Then Harper Brown orders Decker to back off the case. Brown is an agent of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the murder is part of an open DIA investigation that is above Decker’s clearance.

But they learn that the DIA thinks solving the murder is a matter of urgent national security. Critical information may have been leaked to a hostile government or international terrorist group, and an attack may be imminent.

Zero Day David Baldacci

6. Zero Day

The sixth best David Baldacci book according to Goodreads users is Zero Day, the first book in the John Puller series. It has more than 78,000 ratings and an average rating of 4.05.

John Puller is a war hero who has become the top investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division. Therefore, when a family with military connections is murdered in West Virginia, he is called in to investigate. It doesn’t take long for Puller to suspect that the case has wider implications.

The body count rises as he teams up with Samantha Cole, a local homicide detective. It quickly becomes apparent that there is much more to this case then they first thought. It is an investigation in which nothing is as it seems and nothing can be taken at face value.

The Camel Club Best David Baldacci Books

5. The Camel Club

Entering the top five books is the first in The Camel Club series with more than 91,000 ratings and a 4.06 average rating. The club exists at the fringes of Washington, D.C. and is made up of four eccentric men.

The man at the center of the club is the mysterious Oliver Stone. There is also Caleb Shaw, a Library of Congress reference expert; Milton Farb, a computer genius; and Reuben Rhodes, a laborer. They study conspiracy theories, current events, and the government to try and discern the truth behind the country’s actions.

Their actions don’t reveal much until the group witnesses a shocking murder and becomes embroiled in an astounding, far-reaching conspiracy. Now they must join forces with a Secret Service agent to confront a chilling spectacle. It is an event that may trigger war with only five unexpected heroes standing in the way.

The Last Mile Book Cover

4. The Last Mile

Nearing the end of our list is the second book in the Amos Decker series. The Last Mile has more than 91,000 ratings and a 4.23 average rating.

Melvin Mars is mere hours away from his execution for the violent murder of his parents when another man confesses to the crime. Decker is a new hire on an FBI special task force and takes a special interest in Mars’s case after discovering the similarities between the two men.

Both were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men’s families were brutally murdered, and in both cases, another suspect came forward years after the crime to confess to the murders.

The new confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars a free man, so who wants him out of prison? And why now? Then a member of Decker’s team disappears and it becomes clear that something much more sinister is taking place.

The Innocent David Baldacci

3. The Innocent

The third best book by David Baldacci according to Goodreads users is the first book in the Will Robie series: The Innocent. It has more than 105,000 ratings and an average rating of 4.17.

The ruthless assassin is sent to eliminate a target close to home in Washington, D.C., but something doesn’t feel right to Robie. So, for the first time in his career, he refuses to kill. This makes him a target himself and now he must escape from his own people.

As he is fleeing the scene, Robie crosses paths with a fourteen-year-old teenage runaway. But she isn’t a normal runaway. That’s because her parents were murdered, and her own life is in danger. Against all his professional training, Robie knows he needs to help her.

Robie becomes convinced that she is at the center of a vast cover-up the more he gets to know her. It may explain her parents’ deaths and reach to the upper echelons of power. Now, Robie may have to step out of the shadows to save her life, and his own.

Absolute Power Book Cover

2. Absolute Power

The penultimate pick for the best David Baldacci books is the only standalone that cracks the top 12 list according to Goodreads data. That book is Absolute Power, which is also Baldacci’s debut novel. It has more than 105,000 ratings and an average rating of 4.19.

Luther Whitney is a burglar who breaks into a Virginia mansion. But, trapped behind a two-way mirror, he witnesses a brutal crime involving the president. It destroys his faith in all he holds dear to watch a man who believes he can get away with anything involve himself in such a crime.

What follows is an unthinkable abuse of power and criminal conspiracy as a breathtaking cover-up is set in motion by those appointed to work for one of the most important people in the world — the President of the United States.

Memory Man Best David Baldacci Books

1. Memory Man

Finally, according to tens of thousands of Goodreads users, the best David Baldacci book is the first in the Amos Decker series: Memory Man. It has more than 138,000 ratings with an average rating of 4.11.

This is the book which first introduced the police detective in Burlington, Ohio. As well, reading these books in order of publication will provide the best reading experience. That’s because Memory Man is your best introduction to Amos Decker in order to fully understand his back story and what motivates him.

It relives the first time his life changes. He was the only person from his hometown to ever go pro in football, but on his very first play his career ended thanks to a violent helmet-to-helmet collision. It also left an improbable side effect that Decker can never forget a detail.

He became a police detective and two decades later his life changed again when he came home from work to find his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law brutally murdered. His life falls apart and he loses his job, taking on private investigator work when he can.

Then someone comes forward confessing to the crime. To uncover the truth, Decker must confront the memories he cannot forget no matter how hard he tries and he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, here is a glimpse at our list of the best David Baldacci books according to Goodreads data once more. The Amos Decker series is the one that Baldacci is most well-known for and that becomes very apparent with the frequency with which it appears in the top books. It is the series which features the most with four books in the top 12.

These top books are a great representation of his career, however, with his debut featuring as well as books from his other series including Will Robie, The Camel Club, Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, The 6:20 Man, and Atlee Pine. All of these books are action-packed thrillers with a military or political slant at the heart of the mystery, and often both.

  1. Memory Man (2015)
  2. Absolute Power (1996)
  3. The Innocent (2012)
  4. The Last Mile (2016)
  5. The Camel Club (2005)
  6. Zero Day (2011)
  7. The Fix (2017)
  8. Split Second (1979)
  9. The Hit (1998)
  10. The 6:20 Man (2022)
  11. The Fallen (2018)
  12. Long Road to Mercy (2018)

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