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Simple Genius [Hardcover]

David Baldacci
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 24 2007 King & Maxwell
In a world of secrets, human genius is power.

And sometimes it is simply deadly...

A three-hour drive from Washington, D.C., two clandestine institutions face each other across a heavily guarded river. One is the world's most unusual laboratory, whose goals and funding are a mystery. The other is an elite CIA training camp shrouded in secrecy. Now a man and a woman are about to run a gauntlet between these two puzzle factories, straight into a furious struggle to exploit a potentially world-shattering discovery--and keep some other secrets underwraps forever...

Former secret service agents turned private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell have seen their lives splinter around them. Michelle lies unconscious ina hospital bed after a night of suicidal violence. And Sean is forced to take on a thankless investigation into the mutder of a scientist just inside the CIA's razor-wire fence near Williamsburg, Virginia.

Soon he is uncovering layer after layer of disinformation that shields a stunning world filled with elite mathematics, physicists, war heroes, spies, and deadly field agents. Amid more murder, a seemingly autistic girl's extraordinary genius, and a powerful breakthrough in the realm of classified codes, Sean soon learns enough to put his life at risk. Now more than ever, he needs Michelle--at her best--to help stop a conspiracy of traitors operating in the shadow of the White House itself.

From Michelle's courageous struggle to defeat her long-buried personal demons to a centuries-old secret that surfaces in the heat of action, SIMPLE GENIUS pulses with stunning, high-intensity suspense. The heroes of Split Second and Hour Game, David Baldacci's #1 New York Times bestsellers, are back--as you've never seen them before.

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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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Code Enthusiast's Thriller May 5 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
If you love books about secret codes, Simple Genius will be a book you'll long treasure. If you like thrillers that teem with action, sex scenes, obscure martial arts, and high-tech weaponry, this book will seem like a yawn.

As Mr. Baldacci warns you, don't read the Author's Note until after you finish the book. But don't miss that note if you read and like the book. It's a marvelous look into how the story was constructed.

What I found most delightful about Simple Genius was that the plot development kept surprising me. Sure, the general outlines are foreshadowed intentionally (so that you don't get lost in the maze of details), but the specifics shift unexpectedly. In fact, midway through the book, I literally jumped out of my chair with surprise when one change occurred involving the medical examiner.

Simple Genius is intellectually dense. You'll be exposed to more psychology, code breaking, quantum computers, and history than you would normally find in 20 thrillers combined. To Mr. Baldacci's credit, he keeps it as simple as possible without insulting your intelligence.

As the book opens, former Secret Service agents turned PIs, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell have hit bottom. They don't have any work, and Michelle picks a potentially lethal fight with the toughest guy she can find in the roughest bar in town. It takes the last of Sean's money, but he persuades Michelle to seek psychiatric help from an old friend, Dr. Horatio Barnes. Barnes quickly concludes that Michelle is punishing herself, but for what?

Desperate to keep Michelle in treatment, Sean calls his former love and begs for a job. He gets the job, on the condition that Michelle is kept away.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining enough but not his best. . . May 13 2007
Format:Hardcover
I started reading Baldacci with his very good "The Camel Club" and have slowly been working through his back list. Besides being one of the sexiest thriller writers alive, he also knows how to write compelling stories that keep me turning the pages. I was thrilled to get an advance copy of "Simple Genius" a few weeks ago. I hate to have to report though that this book felt a bit flat to me. The story brings back Sean King and Michelle Maxwell from "Split Second" which I have not read and could possibly had an effect on my view of the book but I don't think so. Michelle seems to have some sort of suicidal wish, which comes to a head when she lets a big oaf at a local tavern beat her into a stupor. With King's pushing she enters a treatment center to try and discover what terrible secrete is eating at her soul--but she is not a willing subject. At the same time Sean is also investigating the death of a scientist at a mysterious top secrete CIA installation. In the end I found the pacing very flat and the awaited trademark Baldacci plot twists were never quite delivered. Not a bad book, but not his best. If your new to Baldacci I recommend you read the "The Camel Club" or "Absolute Power" first.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Baldacci books May 26 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
All of D Baldacci books get a five star rating from me. He is just a good story-teller To save time I will include all the Walker - Texas Ranger TV series and all of AJ Quinnell;s books as 5 star ratings I would like to see " The Mahdi" in the Kindle store
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4.0 out of 5 stars Simply Complex Jan. 21 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Always like these two characters as a team but it felt somewhat too real to delve deeper into the background of the female lead. The mystery that makes up the soul of a person doesn't need to be revealed to help us try to understand that person ... we should be left guessing or hoping. Interesting perspective but wondering where he will go from here in the next installment ...
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just an other superb book from my favourite writer; you start to read and forget the time ...and some more things!
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