I have read several of David Baldacci's books and he is a very gifted thriller author. But he really excels and outshines himself when he's writing a non-thriller. This is the second non-thriller by Baldacci which I read and just as "The Wishing Well", it is simply superb.
In the book, Tom Langdon, a journalist, travels by train from Washington D.C to Los Angeles during Christmas season. To do so, he has to take the Capitol Limited from Washington D.C. to Chicago, and from there the Southwest Chief to LA. Even though it is one single story, when Langdon changes the train, the flow of the story also changes.
In the first part Baldacci plays a lot with language and expressions in a pleasant way. And he does a terrific job of capturing the atmosphere of such a multi-day train ride. I can't speak for American railroad travel, but I have myself done a fair bit of longhaul travel by train in Europe and Asia, among others also along one of the venerable Trans-Siberian routes. And the way this journey is described by the author, it caused me to remember my own journeys and often I had to say "Yes, this is exactly the way it is on the train."
The second part of the book is then more kept on the exciting side with action and unexpected happenings.
Even though it is a fabulous book, I do have a small complaint: do yourself a favour and read only the first paragraph of the last chapter (about one page) and just skip the last four pages. They are fine, but the story is simply nicer without them.