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Split Second (King & Maxwell Series Book 1) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Split Second (King & Maxwell Series) Unabridged Edition

1,371 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1600241345
ISBN-10: 1600241344
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"We just solved a huge, complicated mystery," says one protagonist to another in this latest novel from the bestselling author of Last Man Standing, Absolute Power, etc. And that is the problem: this story of two disgraced Secret Service agents who come together to solve two campaign-trail crimes doesn't play to Baldacci's strengths, which are suspense and action (as well as strong characterizations; here's one thriller author who writes people that readers care about). The novel is primarily a mystery, with lots of talk and untangling of clues, and a less than gripping one at that. It begins in 1996, when Secret Service agent Sean King is distracted-by what isn't revealed until near the book's end-just when the presidential candidate he's guarding is shot dead. Eight years later, agent Michelle Maxwell lets the candidate she's watching enter a funeral parlor room alone; he's kidnapped. Then a body appears in the office of King, who's now a successful lawyer in North Carolina. Maxwell sees King on TV and decides to look into the event that caused his disgrace, so similar to hers. Meanwhile, King's old flame, Joan Dillinger, an ex-agent whose security firm has been hired to find the kidnapped presidential candidate, hires King to help in the hunt. The narrative ties binding the characters don't loosen much over the novel's course, as curious cross-currents flow between the two cases, all leading to a cinematic but off-the-wall denouement that reveals a villain who is more cartoon than human. What saves this novel are a few strong but brief action sequences and, above all, the interplay among the principal characters, particularly the romantic tensions among King, Maxwell and Dillinger.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Baldacci's new thriller is sustained by the pulse-pounding suspense his fans have come to expect. Sean King is a former Secret Service agent whose career ended eight years ago when the political candidate he was protecting was assassinated. Now a lawyer, King has organized his life to forget his past, but it barges rudely in on him when he finds a colleague murdered in his office building. Further complicating his life are two women: Joan Dillinger, a former coworker and lover, and Michelle Maxwell, a Secret Service agent whose candidate, John Bruno, has just been kidnapped. Sean and Michelle start to suspect that their candidates' fates are connected and begin to investigate any ties the two may have to each other. It doesn't help that the police are on King's case, especially when yet another body turns up, this time in King's house. King and Maxwell turn their focus to Arnold Ramsey, the man who assassinated King's candidate, but it remains unclear if he was working alone. Meanwhile, the danger mounts, for neither King nor Maxwell can guess who the conspirators' next target is. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: King & Maxwell Series
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Unabridged edition (October 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600241344
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600241345
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.8 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,371 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,386,374 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 29 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 four 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 93 people found the following review helpful By SDRTX on November 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Secret Service Agent Michelle Maxwell let a presidential candidate out of her sight against her better judgment. He disappears with a trace. Eight years ago, Sean King's career as a secret service agent was derailed when the presidential candidate he was protecting was killed in front of him when his attention was diverted for a split second. Michelle and Sean's lives entwine when the circumstances of their respective screw-ups appear to be related.
David Baldacci has written another winner. This was book had me hooked from the first page. The plot was skillfully written interweaving past and present facts. We have two very compelling protagonists that look like they were set up for a sequel, at least I hope so. This is the kind of thriller that keeps you on your toes from the first page to the last. It would have been a 5 star book, except the climax was a bit too unbelievable. It was almost like a light bulb went off and suddenly the case is solved. It all unraveled a little too fast. I don't want to give too much away, but the first 4/5 of the book was so good that the ending really did not detract from my overall enjoyment.
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56 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was disappointed with David Baldacci's "Split Second." Unlike his previous works it is definitely not a strong, tightly written novel, although it could have been a real winner. Throughout much of the book, the thrills, adventure and mystery are certainly present and do keep the reader turning the pages. The three main characters are interesting, unusual and well developed. So, what's wrong? The second half of the novel falls apart. The pace slows; the tension diminishes; the characters begin to act out of character, and turn into cardboard figures without much rationale for their actions. The villain, who has such potential to be a really bad guy, is totally one-dimensional - pure evil incarnate with no complexity, more like a cartoon than a human being. There's a fascinating love triangle which should have taken-off - but falls flat. And after the terrific opening and much of the first half, the conclusion is weak. The book ends with a peep, not a bang!

Sean King, Secret Service agent extraordinaire, with great career potential, is guarding a presidential candidate on a campaign stop in Smalltown USA. King's attention is diverted for one instant, and good cause, when the candidate, Clyde Ritter, is shot dead. Agent King recovers his composure immediately and shoots the assassin. The killer dies. So does King's career.

Eight years later Secret Service agent and girl wonder Michelle Maxwell is on a career fast track in a profession where only men succeed. Agent Maxwell, a former Olympic rower, is the exception to the rule. She has her sights set on White House duty guarding the president and she just might get the gig. She is presently guarding a presidential candidate, John Bruno, who is making an unscheduled stop at a funeral home to pay his respects to the deceased.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By John Hawkins on December 31, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
what a shame - I really enjoyed Baldacci's previous books, and found them to be well written and engrossing, and most of all, believable. This one is too over the top - the characters are too stiff and wornout, and it has the most ridiculous and over-the-top unbelievable plot I've ever read - it reminded me of a Scooby-Doo plot line, it was that ridiculous. David, next time don't just punch the clock and mail it in - your fans don't appreciate it.
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63 of 76 people found the following review helpful By D. Sparks on November 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Most of the reviews I've read here by other customers seem like they only read the first half of the book. I'm a big Baldacci fan, a big mystery/suspense fan and I really enjoyed the first half of this book...maybe even the first three quarters of it. But the ending and plot unveiling is just so ludicrous, so insipid and so filled with "who gives a damn" moments that this book went from a 5 to a 2 in about 20 pages. Very disappointing.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A Total Disappointment
I have been a Baldacci fan since reading Total Control, The Winner and Saving Faith, all good books and worth the time. But, Split Second? All I can say is, infuriating. An unbelievable plot, a cast of confusing, cliched characters, and an absolutely ridiculous ending. It all adds up to a real waste of trees used to make the paper for this thing.
I almost wonder if this wasn't something he wrote in high school and now that he is famous, he thought he could pull it out and pass it off as a "real novel." His editors and agents should have stepped in and stopped this before it got to print. After trying and trying, I did eventually plow though it all, because as I told my wife, "I can't believe how confusing and dumb this is. I just have to read to the end, to see how he is going to work himself of this morass of a plot." In a sentence? The ending was as dumb and confusing as the rest of the book.
The few people on here who have given this book four or five stars must work for the publisher, be relatives of Baldacci, or are cult followers ready to swallow the Kool Aid. I've never seen so many negative reviews for a book on Amazon. I only wish I had read them before I started it and not after.
If you must read a Baldacci book, go for Total Control or The Winner, they are both page turners. Well actually, Split Second was a page turner also. You had to keep turning them back and forth to try and figure out this confusing mess.
I'm sorry to be so negative, but I liked Baldacci, enjoyed his other books, and had high hopes for this story. After reading this I am hesitant to try any of his others, but will probably give him one more chance to make up for this clunker.
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