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First Family (King & Maxwell) Hardcover – April 21, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,025 customer reviews
Book 4 of 6 in the King and Maxwell Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Plenty of intense action drives bestseller Baldacci's stellar fourth novel to feature former Secret Service agents Michelle Maxwell and Sean King (after Simple Genius). Maxwell and King, D.C. PIs, step on the toes of everyone, including the FBI and the Secret Service. They even manage to bruise the ego of First Lady Jane Cox, who hires them after her 12-year-old niece is kidnapped following a birthday party at Camp David. Baldacci excels at making the improbable believable as one obsessed man, 62-year-old Sam Quarry, takes on the best security the U.S. can muster from his Alabama redoubt. Even more impressive than Quarry's determined campaign is the ingeniousness with which Baldacci manages to disguise both Quarry's precise motivation and aims. Meanwhile, Maxwell has to deal with her mother's death and a host of other personal issues. Baldacci's careful plotting and confidant depictions of national security procedures make this a thinking man's thriller. (Apr. 21)
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Review

"Ron McLarty is the perfect choice to present Baldacci's latest thriller. His clear, strong voice shifts effortlessly among the story's varying passages of sadness, anger, and irony. His facility with multiple characters of both genders and many ages, races, and regional accents enables the listener easily to keep track of everyone. Music and sound effects, used liberally in the opening sequences, trail off as the story progresses, becoming less frequent and lower in volume with each chapter. Too bad-their use enhances the story."―AudioFile --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: King & Maxwell
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446539759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446539753
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,025 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

David Baldacci published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A major motion picture adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 31 novels for adults, all of which have been national and international bestsellers; several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print. David has also published five novels for younger readers, including the #1 bestseller THE FINISHER, which is in development for feature film.

David received his Bachelor's degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

While David is involved with several philanthropic organizations, his greatest efforts are dedicated to his family's Wish You Well Foundation®. Established by David and his wife, Michelle, the Wish You Well Foundation supports family and adult literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of literacy and educational programs. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and gently used books have been collected and distributed through food banks to families in need.

David and his family live in Virginia.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover Verified 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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Format: Hardcover Verified 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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified 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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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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