From Publishers Weekly
Last seen in Split Second
(2003), former Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell have reached a crisis in their relationship in this less than compelling Washington political thriller from bestseller Baldacci. When Maxwell instigates a fight with the most intimidating bruiser she could find at a local bar and lets herself be beaten unconscious, despite her superior fighting skills, her partner suggests she voluntarily commit herself to a psychiatric facility. While Maxwell reluctantly undergoes treatment to find the childhood roots of her death wish, King probes the suicide of a scientist found on the grounds of Virginia's Camp Peary, a mysterious CIA facility. Both mysteries are fairly run of the mill, lacking the sharp twists and expert pacing that characterize Baldacci's fiction at its best. (Apr. 24)
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This follow-up to 2004's Hour Game
begins with Michelle Maxwell, the former Secret Service agent turned private investigator, scraping the bottom of the emotional barrel. When she wanders into a seedy bar and picks a fight with the biggest guy she can find, she knows someone is about to die . . and she hopes it's not him. Soon Michelle is sidelined at a mental hospital, and Sean King, her partner, is trying to find a case to keep their business afloat. He finds one--a murder at a high-tech think tank--and it's not long before Michelle checks herself out of the hospital and joins Sean. But can they piece together this intricate puzzle in time to save a girl's life and blow the lid off a top-level government conspiracy? The most intriguing element of this compulsively readable novel is its setting: Babbage Town, the think tank, is modeled after World War II's Bletchley Park, where some of the world's top thinkers joined forces to break the top-secret German communications code. Baldacci's twenty-first-century version of Bletchley brings together a community of scientists working on a new kind of computer, but readers familiar with the Bletchley story will note how carefully Baldacci draws the parallels. As always, the two leads work well together, their strengths and weaknesses complementing each other. Baldacci, always strong on suspense but occasionally clunky stylistically, finds his voice here. The best entry in the series. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved