“King and Maxwell” is David Baldacci's newest novel about former Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, who now work together as private investigators.
This time their client is teenager Tyler Wingo. He's technically too young to be a paying customer, but when have these two PIs ever let such details get in the way of finding the truth? Certainly not this time, either.
The Army has told Tyler and his stepmother, Jean, that his father, Sam Wingo, has been killed in action in Afghanistan. Tyler refuses to accept the news as factual. He believes his father is alive. Bolstering his belief is a text message in code from his father date-stamped after Sam Wingo's so-called death.
Tyler hires King and Maxwell to find out what really happened to Sam Wingo. This is no simple matter.
An armada of people with letters in front of their name — DHS, CIA, FBI, DIA, etc. — repeatedly warns King and Maxwell to back off. The two, of course, do not listen. And a raft of thugs tries several times to kill the PIs.
As always with Baldacci, even a score card won't guarantee that a reader can tell the good guys from the bad. And also so typical with King and Maxwell, they have stumbled into a plot of international intrigue that threatens the U.S. president and the American government.
Unraveling the plot takes the PIs and readers from outer space communications satellites to Camp David to a seedy motel to a cabin in the countryside.
Baldacci is a master at red herrings, so don't jump to every “logical” conclusion. He's also a master of nuance, so watch for the subtleties.
The King and Maxwell novels fly at breakneck speed. Then at the end, that trickster Baldacci dangles another story thread right in front of the reader — a classic cliff-hanger.
“King and Maxwell” is a great starting place if you haven't read this Baldacci series. Once you're done with this one, you'll be so curious about Edgar, a character from a previous novel in the series, that you probably will read them all.
They are great companions on cold winter evenings and snowy afternoons.