“King and Maxwell”: A Load of Responsibility…..
19 December, 2013
I never read any reviews/ previews of books written by David Baldacci.
There is no need to.
All his books are consistent, fast-paced and never fail to disappoint.
Baldacci’s latest books (especially “The Innocent,” “The Forgotten”) have been nothing less than brilliant, which is more I can say about this book, released recently in India.
This book, though readable, is an ideal companion for a long, train journey (it’s not that much taxing to the brain) and while it does end with an expected and another unexpected twist; it’s certainly not his best book of the 27 he has written so far.
But so what?
A below-average Baldacci is a still a page-turner and good value for money.
A USA military man on a high profile secret mission in Afghanistan with a 4800 pounds (2 tons) cargo is intercepted.
Both his life and the shipment are jeopardised.
The two, ex secret-service investigators, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, decide to trace the circumstances, for the sake of his teenage son.
Both come with a lot of baggage from the previous five books but Baldacci never lets that come in the way of his narration, though frequent references are present.
Interestingly, the cargo’s mystery is revealed before half-way.
The story then connects that consignment to a much, bigger international conspiracy involving the American Defence ministry, the Homeland Security, CBI, FBI and the world’s most powerful man.
Finally, it all comes down to an act of vengeance and a misguided consequence of a long standing, obsessive injustice.
While the illegal passage of a person from Afghanistan to Pakistan and India through The Wagah border is reasonably convincing, the voyage of that person from India to USA in a cargo flight through fake papers (obtained in India) seems ridiculous, especially when he is a much wanted fugitive from USA.
Apart from the sparkling chemistry between King and Sean (whose relationship is always simmering, never boiling) Baldacci also examines relationships between a father and a son, a husband and an ex-wife, a son-in-law and his father-in-law, teen relationships and also a hazy stepmother/stepson one.
A computer Geek has an impressive role, though his abilities seem exaggerated.
The story races along many times just on conversations which are full of sarcasm and witty one-liners.
Because Sean has a law background: Indian readers will love his self-assured arrogance towards higher-ups, never being intimidated by them, brushing their threats with counterattacks and still staying within the parameters of legal limits.
It’s interesting as to how a VIP’s life is saved through an inspiration by a scene from the 1975 Spielberg film “Jaws.”
Baldacci also focuses on how future wars will not be fought on land/sea/air with bombs but through mouse clicks with “an intellectual purity” with attacks on infrastructure, financial markets and energy-hubs.
(Note to Mr Baldacci: Please use the metric system for measurements. Even the British have stopped using “pounds” for weights now.)
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