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74 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First Family is David Baldacci's follow-up to Simple Genius. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are summoned by Pam Dutton to instruct them on their next case. Before they can meet with her, however, they notice two men running from the scene firing their guns. As they investigate the house they notice Pam is dead, but, Willa, her eldest daughter, is missing. Subplots are plenty as Michelle, who is still struggling to come to terms about her mother's death, returns home to be with her father. First Family is a beefy book with twists and turns reminiscent of a roller coaster. Its politics and scandals are so complex that the reader stays in tune with the book from page one, and doesn't blink until the book ends. David Baldacci has once again delivered a novel that will captivate its readers....

I would also highly recommend: S is for Sirens a novel that ranked one of the best this year.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have read all of David Baldacci's books; and yes, some are better than others. I don't think that First Family was his best book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like the characters of Sean and Michelle and hope to see them again in future adventures. The "all charm but can't keep his pants zipped" President and his manipulative, powerful first lady were very believable (due to our own country's past history). Sam Quarry was a stereotypical redneck and somewhat extreme example of how some picture Southerners. Since I am from MS / AL, Sam was insulting, but plausible. The story line was, at times, stretching the reader's acceptance; but that is one of the appeals of Baldacci's writing. He pushes the believability factor to the absolute limit and then just a little beyond. But after all, that's why I am reading, for the entertainment factor. It's not supposed to be anything more. I'm anxiously awaiting his next book.
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141 of 172 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I'm not a kindle user, so am not involved in the controversy that makes up most of the reviews based upon it's Kindle price. This is simply a review of the book after reading it. And, I found it to be a decent thriller with one major flaw. Here's the upsides and downsides of it for me:

Upsides:
- I love the characters in this book: From "superheroes" Michelle, the blunt damaged secret service agent and Sean, her big more laid back partner to the evil-or-is-he-so-evil Quarry.
- Even though Michelle and Sean are from his previous book Simple Genius - this works just fine as a stand-alone thriller.

Downsides:
- The beginning was a little slow, though it picks up in the middle. (There's an interesting side-plot with Michelle in the middle that picked up the pace, but I expected it to connect more with the total story).

- The overall plot is mildly implausible, but that's alright given it's thriller nature and that there's Baldacci's writing to compensate. But, the ending just gets outrageously implausible. There's about 70 pages of it that go from one completely unbelievable action to another. I would just get through one thing that happened that I'd had to convince myself that "alright, maybe it's a little believable", before something even more outlandish would occur! The size of the "holes in the story"- just grew wider and wider!

BOTTOM LINE: A good page-turning premise and characters brought down to a just average thriller(and below what I expect from Baldacci) by some completely implausible action at the end.
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56 of 72 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
David Baldacci creates an impossible situation with believable characters. When the president's niece is abducted after attending a birthday party at Camp David, the question is why? Why are private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell hired to locate the missing child? And what does the abductor want? Why has he kidnapped another woman along with the child? So many questions, which all get answered as the story unfolds. This book had me on the edge of my recliner as I read each chapter wondering where is was headed and why. Great book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have never written a review but this dreadful book rose to the best seller list based on the authors name and the reading public should be warned not to buy this. Not only for the dumb plot with an unnecessary sub-plot but the dialogue comes right out of the Clive Cussler-Dan Brown elementary school of writing. I shook my head many times as I read the lame discourse among the stock characters. Please David, back to the Camel Club.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I am always ready to go for a ride with Sean King and Michelle...but even the wildest plot has to respect a minimum of rules. Not all questions are answered at the end, which is a little too predictable. I won't go into details so as not to spoil the story for new readers, but our heroes get to the solution through a wildly implausible clue left by a murderer. Overall the pace of the book is a little slow, though there are some pleasant interludes and some clever red herrings. Bottom line - will I buy the next Baldacci? You bet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Baldacci has become a prolific author, pumping out a couple of books a year at the moment. Sadly quantity is overcoming quality as his recent efforts have been decidedly average. It's a shame because as an author he is brave enough to try different things and not always stick with the same characters or themes.
In First Family he brings back ex Secret Service, now PI pair, King and Maxwell. The pair are brought in by the First Lady no less to help find her kidnapped niece. This is a story of revenge and at the heart is a dark secret that the First Family would not like to get out. And part way through the investigation Maxwell is diverted by a personal tragedy....
Well, it's okay but not a lot more. The two leads, King and Maxwell still lack sufficient depth (as per their previous outings) and the most interesting character is probably the bad guy because you understand (eventually) his motives. Having said that, his actions are occasionally at odds with the way the author presents him to us.
So it's not a poor book by any means, just a little average and it needed a little tweaking and polishing that didn't happen, maybe because the next book on the production line (True Blue) was already lined up....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the first Baldacci novel that I have read featuring King and Maxwell. They are fine and well developed characters and I really enjoyed the Quarry character. The plot is a true page turner. I never find Baldacci boring, that's for sure, but it contains a 100 page or so subplot involving Maxwell that goes nowhere at all, and in fact the subplot truly detracts from the story. My theory is that Baldacci was going to write a novel based on the subplot, put together 100 or so pages, realized it was weak and going nowhere and tacked it on as filler to this novel. That was just too weird for me and at the end of the day makes my four star rating almost generous, but Baldacci knows how to spin a good yarn and you could do a lot worse than spending a few evenings curled up with this novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
It is always interesting to read the reviews on line. I think this book, even excluding the pricing issue, has a greater disparity than normal. I vote for the positive side. I think this is a good, but not great, thriller. I also concur that the story of Michelle's family does not really fit in and clutters the story. On the other side I believe the villain is a sympathetic character. I enjoyed watching the plot unfold. I also agree that the ending is far fetched.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
While I normally enjoy Baldacci's potboilers (particulary on long flights), I thought this was his worst book so far. The plot made no sense with a bad guy that was never credible. Recommend that you skip this one. I have a 2 bad book rule that says once an author has hooked me, he/she gets automatic purchases until there are 2 bad books in a row. Then they are off the list until a review requalifies them for purchase. This is the first of two for Baldacci. Another one like this and he is off my list.
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