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Once again David Baldacci shows that he is a consummate author of popular thrillers in a page-turning adventure featuring two of his most popular characters, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell - former Secret Service agents turned private investigators. This book will undoubtedly become a pre-Christmas bestseller.
King and Maxwell are driving through a storm when they nearly hit a teenage boy, Tyler Wingo, wandering the highway in the dark. They find that he has fled his nearby home after hearing that his father has been killed in Afghanistan. When they take him home it is clear that Tyler is on his own as there is no love lost with his stepmother.
Next day Tyler contacts them directly and hires them to find out more about his father's death. He tells them he is concerned because he has been told by the Army that there will be no casket as his father's remains are not recognisable. What Tyler doesn't tell them is that he has received a carefully worded email with a coded message from his father - sent after the time he was said to have been killed.
King and Maxwell start to uncover an international incident that begins with the loss of an unknown cargo of 4,800 lbs in a remote part of Afghanistan and the disappearance of Tyler's father. They discover a cover-up that implicates the Pentagon and even higher and become part of a chase to find Tyler's father, uncover the truth and the conspirators. The chase will put their lives at risk many times and claim many lives before it ends in a deadly showdown .
In this book Baldacci explores the special relationship between Sean and Michelle, and Sean's reaction when she was in hospital with serious gunshot wounds from their last adventure. This time Baldacci also introduces us to Sean's ex-wife Dana, in a more than cameo role as the wife of a 2 star General at the Pentagon. He explores Sean and Dana's past life and their relationship when they meet again.
One of David Baldacci's great strengths is his ability to create and ring the changes between a number of compelling characters (including The Camel Club, John Puller, and my recent favourite, Will Robie). It is great to see the return of King and Maxwell after a break of a couple of years. Their adventures with the Secret Service and as private investigators have been some of Baldacci's most successful thrillers over the last 10 years.
PS I was browsing next year's pre-orders on Amazon recently and found that Will Robie (recently featured in "The Hit") will be back at the end of April 2014 in "The Target".