is David Baldacci at the top of his well-informed game, with a real sense of what the Secret Servicemen who protect the President and presidential candidates think about the job and how it feels to fail. Sean King looked away at the wrong moment and a man died; his career ended and he has spent eight years rebuilding a life. When Michelle Maxwell makes a similar mistake, she becomes convinced that there is a link between the man she lost to kidnappers and the man Sean failed to protect--and the more she learns, the more she can prove.
This is an odd couple thriller--Sean and Michelle have radically different attitudes to the job they both did well--and ingeniously put together in terms of what it tells us about the shadowy villain manipulating events and what it delays telling us about the past. It is a well-informed thriller which wears its research lightly--it has a sense of how it feels to see every large room as a potential killing ground in which you have to protect very vulnerable public men, and some charming scenes of budding romantic comedy. --Roz Kaveney
--This text refers to the
From Publishers Weekly
"We just solved a huge, complicated mystery," says one protagonist to another in this latest novel from the bestselling author of Last Man Standing, Absolute Power, etc. And that is the problem: this story of two disgraced Secret Service agents who come together to solve two campaign-trail crimes doesn't play to Baldacci's strengths, which are suspense and action (as well as strong characterizations; here's one thriller author who writes people that readers care about). The novel is primarily a mystery, with lots of talk and untangling of clues, and a less than gripping one at that. It begins in 1996, when Secret Service agent Sean King is distracted-by what isn't revealed until near the book's end-just when the presidential candidate he's guarding is shot dead. Eight years later, agent Michelle Maxwell lets the candidate she's watching enter a funeral parlor room alone; he's kidnapped. Then a body appears in the office of King, who's now a successful lawyer in North Carolina. Maxwell sees King on TV and decides to look into the event that caused his disgrace, so similar to hers. Meanwhile, King's old flame, Joan Dillinger, an ex-agent whose security firm has been hired to find the kidnapped presidential candidate, hires King to help in the hunt. The narrative ties binding the characters don't loosen much over the novel's course, as curious cross-currents flow between the two cases, all leading to a cinematic but off-the-wall denouement that reveals a villain who is more cartoon than human. What saves this novel are a few strong but brief action sequences and, above all, the interplay among the principal characters, particularly the romantic tensions among King, Maxwell and Dillinger.
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.