Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: King and Maxwell by David Baldacci

I have wanted to read a novel by David Baldacci for longer than I can remember. He writes in the genre that I love and can't get enough of. Action-packed, espionage, unstoppable villains, and gripping plots are what I expect from writers such as Baldacci. Thankfully he doesn't disappoint with the latest in his Sean King and Michelle Maxwell series.

King and Maxwell begins with a soldier, Sam Wingo, carrying a 4800 pounds of cargo across the desert of the Middle East. Wingo does not know what's in the cargo, but does know that it is precious, important, and a matter of life or death. Anything that comes with a kill-switch must be pretty important right? Instead of the mission going off as planned, a man named Tim Simons, claiming to be CIA, high-jacks the cargo by convincing Wingo plans have changed. Oh how plans have changed and Wingo is suddenly without recourse in a country that has no shortage of enemies.

Enter Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, driving along on a rainy night, are interrupted during a back and forth by a teenage boy running across the street yeidling a gun. Before King can stop the recovering Maxwell from fleeing the car, she dashs out in search of the teenager ignoring the pain in her body that tells her to stop running. She's been in recovery from a knife in the back wound and is still not 100%, although she pretends to be for King's sake. Eventually Maxwell catches up to the boy and introduces herself as one half of the Private Investigating team that is King and Maxwell.

Because of Maxwell's own childhood issues, she's drawn to Tyler Wingo once the circumstances of his running away come to light. Tyler has reason to believe that his father is alive although the military says that he isn't. He enlists the help of Maxwell. King is most relunctant to take on the case because there are too many red flags suggesting they should back off. Red flags that tote guns and will kill mercilessly. Eventually, the four characters involved uncover an ingenious plot of revenge.

King and Maxwell is one of those books where if you blink, you may just miss something. Baldacci keeps his foot on the gas the entire time. The pages are laced with action sequences, witty banter, and non-stop intrigue. I very much like novels that read like an action movie. But that too can get draining for someone who's in search of some higher meaning or great literary masterpiece. That's not what this type of book is about! Look elsewhere if you want to be bored to death!

Although I very much like reading books that don't describe tree bark for a whole chapter, I do expext a little more depth to the characters than was given. I'm not lost on the fact that this is not the first in a series, but is the first of the series I've read. My problem wasn't with our starring duo King and Maxwell, who are actually pretty well fleshed out. My gripe is with the people they encounter. Tyler and Sam Wingo are the average run of the mill teenager and soldier for hire. They had no real depth to them to keep me rooting for them one way or another. Although the bad guys plan is something I'd never have guessed, his reasons revenge were vague to me. I wish Baldacci had expanded a little more on that aspect.

As mentioned earlier, this is my first adventure with David Baldacci, but certainly won't be my last. He's a best-selling author for obvious reasons. King and Maxwell will certainly appeal to fans of action thrillers as well as die-hard Baldacci fans. I look forward to reading more by Baldacci. ****

Copy provided by Netgalley

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