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 love the Sean and Michelle series and this one followed suit with the other books. I was really entertained and wanted to hear the end. Only downside, it was a little predictable in parts, but entertaining.
My wife and I were drawn in from the first sentence. Admittedly, I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the Camel Club series. However, I can easily see myself being drawn in by Michelle and Sean, and would love to see them in ongoing stories. The dynamic is solid and the personalities well layered. Ron McLarty as always delivers a stellar performance, but I found myself longing for a cameo by Oliver Stone because of his voice. The story develops quite well. Some sections drag only slightly, and there may be a couple of superfluous characters, yet that doesn't detract from a fantastic story line. The sub plot with Michelle's family definitely gives a nice twist and edge.
David Baldacci is one of the best authors out there today. But I think squeezing two books out a year is taking it's toll on him. While the Whole Truth was fantastic (as was almost everything he put out prior to that), his last few novels have been okay. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad book, still kept you going and really got good there for a while. But when you would start to care about a character and their story, he would go back to Washington, or Nashville, or Alabama. It just took a long time to care about anything. I found myself caring more about Michelle's personal investigation than the main story.
Evelyn J Sickler
Although I am a fan of Baldacci's books, I found this one to be a bit tedious, with an impossible to believe story line. It was worth the read because it ties a lot of things up for the main characters, I just felt that this was of a case of "less is better".
This book involves the former secret service agents Sean King and Michele Maxwell. The story line is quite improbable even for the murder mystery genre, but it is written so that you, nonetheless, want to know what happens next. There is a lengthy side story involving Michelle's family that doesn't have anything to do with the main story line - the side story is more understandable and interesting if you read an earlier Baldacci story, 'Simple Genius' - otherwise, it seems like a big detour...the elements of the side story and the main story don't seem to intersect so it's a bit of a puzzle why it's there in such detail. Some of the more improbable elements are the First lady hiring a private detective: two private detectives who follow clues faster than the CIA, FBI and secret service combined: and a secret service detail that allows the President to be knowingly put in danger based on an unsubstantiated tip by a private citizen. If you can suspend this belief, it is still an entertaining read. It is recommended that you read Simple Genius first, but it is not required to follow the main story.
There's alot of treading water in this novel and I know Badacci is better than such. At several points in this listen, I was like "ok, let's get on with it!" To be honest, some of this feel liked filler, and if I can't be fooled any better, then their you go!
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.
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