Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Family by David Baldacci

Baldacci's First Family, a political action thriller about a kidnapping gone wrong, succeeded in creating possibly the most sympathetic villain I've encountered in all my reading.  When combined with victims who are so utterly contemptible (and if you've read Baldacci before you know how he portrays the political elite) the character contrast alone is enough to propel the story forward.  The plot's intrigue is almost a bonus that binds everything together into a nice read (or listen in this case - audio book).

Former Secret Service agents and current private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are engaged by the First Lady to assist the FBI with solving the kidnapping of her precocious twelve year old niece, a botched job that left the girl's mother dead.  If that doesn't make you scratch your head, think again - why would the FBI need the assistance of a couple of PIs?

While election year politics rage around Washington D.C., a Viet Nam veteran hunkers down in his aging Alabama plantation to plan his revenge.  Years of painstaking research have led him to a startling conclusion about the cause of a painful and ultimately deadly chapter from his family's past.  And it is he who ultimately decides whose family comes first.

You might be familiar with Baldacci's work from the movie Absolute Power starring Clint Eastwood and if that captured your fancy First Family and his other books are worth trying.  But one thing I can do without in my audio books is a soundtrack and audio effects.  The whole point of books is that the words should be sufficiently powerful to generate images in your mind's eye.  If you're a frustrated movie producer, stay out of audio book production.

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