David Baldacci is one of my favoured authors. He wrote Absolute Power which was made into the film of the same name staring Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Ed Harris. The book is quite different (and better in my opinion) to the film, though that was good too.I have two bookshelves housing Mr Baldacci’s books, and having the other 5 in this series (SPLIT SECOND (2003), HOUR GAME (2004), SIMPLE GENIUS (2007), FIRST FAMILY (2009) and THE SIXTH MAN (2011)) I was eager to include this one in my collection.
I am an avid reader, though once I have found an author I enjoy, I tend to stick with them. That’s why I also have 2 shelves of Lee Child and Jack Reacher (but that’s another issue) . Back to Sean and Michelle.
For anyone who is not familiar with the characters, I will just say they are both Ex-Secret Service turned PIs. There is a chemistry between them, but that isn’t really exploited in this, so don’t expect any love scenes or romance. To understand their relationship though, you really need to read at least one of the other books in the series. There is a lot of complexity in their personal histories that cannot be condensed here, especially Michelle’s.
From the synopsis on the inside cover, it sounded like it was going to be another gritty story, one I wouldn’t be able to put down, and would finish in a couple of days (as I did with Last Man Standing, the pace of which had me running for my life with Web London, the main character) . Basically, the son of a soldier receives a text message from his Dad after the military have just told him he’s been killed in action. The boy hires King and Maxwell to find out if his Dad really is dead, and then lots of other little things pop up like missing money, CIA agents who aren’t, people getting bumped off, lots of computer jargon, politics etc etc.
King and Maxwell was available to buy in the UK last November, and I have only just finished it. I can’t say it was because I’ve been too busy or too tired to read at night though. I just couldn’t get into the story. The chapters are relatively short, but the ‘Must Read On’ factor was missing, so I found it really easy to put down, and a bit of an effort to pick up again.
That was until I got to page 384 of my edition (mine has different artwork to the cover above) and the climax of the story. Or at least I think it was, because the ‘excitement’ was all over in 12 pages, (7 of which were about the bad guy) and as the book is only 419 in total, I’m afraid I was not impressed. The end was thus disjointed, rushed and dull.
Of the six, I enjoyed First Family the most as it really kept me guessing until the end. The Sixth Man was also pretty good, and one of the characters from that plays a major role in this offering. It looks like he’ll be in the next installment too, if there is one of course.
Unlike Lee Child, DB writes about more than one character, and has recently introduced Will Robie and John Puller (2 books thus far per character) . There is also an early series about The Camel Club (5 titles) and although I couldn’t really get to grips with the very first, the other four are brilliant, and definite cannot-be-put-down-when’s-the-next-one material. Hubby also likes those.
According to the internet, King and Maxwell debuted on TV in June 2013, but in September it was announced that there would be no second series. I can’t comment on that as we have no TV here (if it’s been broadcast in the UK anyway) though the viewers comments on the internet suggest that it was a good show and they’d like to see it return.
Of course there’s probably absolutely nothing wrong with the book, and I am just getting too familiar with DB’s stories so that there are no surprises anymore.
There are 2 more books due to be published in the next few months, different characters again, and nothing to do with anything previously written. I think I will have to do a random read test when they hit the book store, open it anywhere and read something from the middle rather than rely on the inside cover to determine whether or not to buy it.