Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book Look Review "First Family"

“First Family”

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell team up again in David Baldacci’s latest novel. I reserved it at the library, and only had to wait in line a week before my email message arrived that it was ready and waiting. I love this library service and it has saved me lots of money over the years since I like to read a new hardcover release once in awhile. Amazon has somehow managed to survive without me despite the bad economy. I do purchase books, but I am very choosy about what gets shelf space at my house. Since another book will have to leave, the new book must be deserving of that place. Would “First Family” make the cut?

This book is a good summer read. It’s typical Baldacci with national political intrigue and personal drama. The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you interested all the way along. The main characters are familiar from other books, and the new characters are well sketched. The lovely first lady Jane Cox employs the private investigator team to find her kidnapped niece Willa. The twelve year old has been violently abducted with no apparent motive but Jane tells King and Maxwell she suspects there must be a tie to the presidency. Various branches of government agencies are also hunting for the kidnappers but the first lady has more reason to trust King with his Secret Service background and his past discretion.

The chief villain, Sam Quarry is a sympathetic psychopath descended from a long line of crazy southerners. Quarry has an odd household of characters and a convenient decrepit old plantation available for his base of operations. Baldacci keeps us guessing about Quarry’s motive while giving us insight into his careful plotting and planning. The side story about Michelle Maxwell’s mother’s death and her visit home doesn’t connect with the main plot but it does provide another bit of mystery for the reader and more insight into Michelle’s often odd behavior. It tends to slow the building suspense sometimes and was a bit distracting to me.

Would I buy this book and put it on my shelf? No, but I enjoyed reading it and it was definitely an entertaining novel worth my time if not my money and shelf space. Baldacci continues to be one of my favorite vacation authors, and “First Family” was worth checking out as a new release from the library.

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