Camp David, USA. A birthday party turns into a nightmare when a child is snatched after the celebrations. The First Lady enlists the services of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell to bring the child home safely. But she and King share a past. Years ago he saved her then senator husband from political disaster. And this may not be all that passed between them. With Michelle still battling her own demons, the two are pushed to the limit, with forces aligned on all sides against them - and the line between friend and foe impossible to define...or defend.
©2009 David Baldacci; (P)2009 Hachette
I'm a big Baldacci fan and I like the two main characters of this series, but this book felt rushed. Rushed as in the writing was not as well thought out and the plot not as tight as other Baldacci stories. Still worth a listen, but not his best. Won't stop me from listening to the next in the series though.
The only thing that made the slow, drone of the narrator tolerable, were the cheesy sound effects distracting from dramatic moments. This made radio dramas of the 1940s sound brilliant. *Sigh* The story was a bit predictable, too. I'd give this two and a half stars if I could.
I agree with reader Eva from Sweden, that the music and sound effects are totally uncalled for on audiobooks. I am giving up on listening to this audiobook as I cannot hear anything the reader say, and even when I do hear him, I cannot stay focused as the sound effects (machine gun, etc...) irritate me so much...
I have always liked the characters of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell and look forward to each new adventure. I have listened to each one as an audiobook so my one disappointment is the narrator of the latest segment. Scott Brick will always be the voices of Sean and Michelle and while Ron McLarty is a fine narrator, it just wasn't the same. It got to be alot with the two plots of the kidnapping and Michelle's family. I'm glad they did include the later because it tied up the loose ends from "Simple Genius" but it did get to be a bit much. I hope this won't be the last King/Maxwell book but I also hope to hear them narrated, once again, by Scott Brick.
I am a Baldaci fan, and the main story is terrific, however the totally irrelevant sub-plot dealing with Michelle's mom is irritating. There are only two reasons why an author introduces a device like this. One is if the main story is too short and he needs a filler, or if he is introducing new characters that he intends to use in future books and he wants us to "bond" with them. I suspect the latter is the case here. The problem is that every time the author switches to the sub-plot, he kills the continuity of the main plot. I don't care what happens to Michelle's family. The book is "First Family", not "Michelle's Family". In fact, this would be a great book to abridge, since eliminating the entire sub-plot would leave a very readable, taut story. Furthermore, I didn't particularly liked Michelle and Shaun. Maybe the irritation of switching stories made me dislike them. The author certainly worked hard enough to add complexity to them, but maybe he tried too hard. Men/women cop partners who wrestle with their emotions for each other are too much of a cliche. I don't look forward to future books featuring these two, but if Baldaci sticks to one plot at a time, maybe I will learn to like them.
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