In my last blog, I focused on Sue Grafton as a favorite mystery writer. Her alphabet mysteries, featuring quirky private investigator Kinsey Millhone, have little in common with the more ‘in your face’ suspense/thriller fiction of another of my favorite authors, David Baldacci.
Baldacci authors a number of series. I’ve enjoyed the plot and character development in all of them. However, my two favorite series, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve read all of the books and wait with eager anticipation for the next releases, are those featuring CIA assassin Will Robie, and those featuring private investigators Michelle Maxwell and Sean King.
While it might at first seem difficult, if not impossible, to make a loner CIA assassin into a sympathetic character, Mr. Baldacci manages to do so. I’m not sorry to say that I like Will Robie. He carries out his assignments – addressed in detail in each of the books to the point where I can almost believe that I also could put together a sniper rifle – with precision and skill. Robie is proud of his accomplishments, but he doesn’t kill for enjoyment. He’s a man with a moral compass and a sense of right and wrong that creates both personal and professional dilemmas. His relationship with fellow CIA assassin Jessica Reel provides another layer to the personal drama that plays out across complex, intriguing, and suspenseful story plots in books with titles such as: The Innocent, The Hit, The Target, and Guilty,
The King and Maxwell series has a different focus. Both Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are former Secret Service agents who left the Agency under less than ideal circumstances (as in having presidential candidates murdered and kidnapped, respectively, on their watches). After the demise of his career in the Secret Service, King became a successful, if somewhat bored, lawyer. After the loss of her career, Maxwell, a hard-driving young woman and former Olympic athlete, suggests that the two of them join forces.
Thus is the beginning of King and Maxwell, a private investigation firm. Their cases vary from solving presidential assassination plots to finding mass murderers. The suspenseful and complex stories – including the titles Split Second, Simple Genius, and First Family – play out against a mostly Virginia and Washington D.C. background. He’s the older, seasoned veteran with impeccable taste and a desire for order in his life. She’s driven and impatient, and enjoys living in chaotic surroundings. Over time they become each other’s best friends, confidants–and something more.
If you enjoy suspenseful thrillers with complex, well-developed plots and characters, you will love David Baldacci’s offerings.