Baldacci is a pro who knows how to cook up an intricate plot and keep the narrative ticking away like a bomb. BUT this book reads like a first draft, complete with cliches and grammatical errors, poor character development and stilted dialogue. I can't help but think that if he had taken another six months to work over the plot and character elements and goose his writing style, this could have been a stunning thriller.
The performance is another issue. McLarty's voice has range, but his delivery can be oddly stiff. He is not the problem, however. The faux suspenseful background music was horrible and intrusive. Even worse were the appalling sound effects--like the machine gun spatter--that accompanied the most dramatic scenes. Not just unnecessary but ridiculous, bordering on grotesque. I've never encountered this before in an audiobook and I pray I never do again!
I am a huge Baldacci fan and a fan of Michelle and Shawn (Sean, Shaun, whichever). I love Ron McLarty's narration. Not a fan of the story. The premise of the story was interesting, I just don't think it was written in the best way possible. Not his best work, but a great addition to the Michelle and Shawn story.
I love a mystery. . .but in this story, it's mystery after mystery after mystery. Characters are continually being shocked by something the reader isn't told of. By the time you're halfway through the book, you really have NO idea what's going on and are starting not to care. Normally I listen as often as I can, finishing a 12 hour book in about week. This one? Not so much.
By the time the mystery is revealed, you've forgotten what was relevant and what wasn't.
I read a lot plus I listen to one to two books a month and I think this is the best book I have listened to. I have read all the books in this series and enjoed them all. The funny thing is I happen to pick the first one in this series because audible had first listens on sale. Im so glad I did. My advice is listen to them in order or you spoil it.
When reading a series, the authors should not be allowed to change narrators. In the case of this book in particular Michelle goes from being a strong individual with issues to a weak one. The overall tone of the narrator more than the words changes the character, and not in a good way. Next book in the series better be narrated by Scott Brick or I'll be passing.
Fascinating- couldn't figure out Sam's motivation until the very end. Listened 12 min. twice a day for a month and a half back and forth to work and had no trouble remembering what had happened or transpired. In the spellbinding parts, (and there were many) I was annoyed that I had to work inbetween the story bits. Well written and very enjoyable.
There is no debate about how great a writer David Baldacci is or how wonderful a narrator Ron McLarty is (even tho I have missed Scott Brick). This story was entertaining but not quite as believeable as his other stories have been. Sean and Michelle jet back and forth along the southeastern coast running from one crisis to another and yet still have time to consider a romantic relationship? And all during that time a manipulating b---- of a First Lady is sabotaging their investigation that she hired them to conduct? In addition, they are the only ones to have enough sense to put the pieces together to be fed to a reporter who publishes the story just after the election? I expect more.
Wow! I would stop listening for the evening and try to predict what was going to happen next. Boy was I wrong. I just never saw anything coming. It would be wonderful if David Baldacci could write a sequel and let us know what happens to the surving characters, especially the President and his wife!
First Family is the latest in the Sean King/Michelle Maxwell series from David Baldacci. This is my favorite series from this author and I was looking forward to this book. It is not a bad "read" but it does not live up the standard set by earlier books in the series. I thought the story drug and lacked the "grab me" compelling nature of the earlier books. It did pick up in the last fifth of the book, but even then it was only a marginal acceleration in excitement. If you like this series, it is worth listening to, but don't expect it to be on par with Baldacci's previous King and Maxwell books.
What a good book. I enjoyed it very much. Buy it!!