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114 of 121 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sacrificing quality for quantity..., May 21, 2007
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This review is from: Simple Genius (King & Maxwell) (Hardcover)
I have been a big fan of David Baldacci from the very beginning and have been impressed with the consistent quality of his work. Unfortunately, with his last three books, he now seems to be sacrificing quality for quantity and Simple Genius is a disappointment.

Baldacci brings back two former Secret Service agents, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. These two appeared previously in Split Second and Hour Game and are now private investigators. Simple Genius opens with Michelle Maxwell having a meltdown--the result of some long-repressed childhood memory. Meanwhile, King is hired by a super-secret company to investigate the death of one of their top mathematicians (which happens on CIA property). King stays at the company headquarters called Babbage Town, where he meets a whole host of scientists who are on the verge of some earth-changing discoveries. But he's not at Babbage Town very long before someone else ends of dead. This case will pit King against the FBI, the CIA and unknown spies and will involve drug dealing, secret codes, illegal detainments, illegal torture, buried treasure and an 11 year old autistic genius. Yup--it's that's hokey. While King is battling all these things, it is uncertain whether Maxwell will be able to pull through for him.

I really liked King and Maxwell in Baldacci's previous books. But in Simple Genius, they're just too one dimensional. It also seems as if Baldacci's plots become more and more far-fetched. I wonder if he's now writing books because he has to meet a deadline and not because he has a riveting story to tell. Baldacci is still much better than many mystery writers today. Unfortunately, I've come to expect much more from him.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 27, 2007 11:29:01 AM PDT
I am surprised it took this reviewer the last three books to figure out that Balducci had only one good book in him, Absolute Power. I have tried several times since to give him a try and his books are just mind numbingly BAD. He is still coasting on the launch of Absolute Power. The last book I tried was Camel Club because a friend recommended it and I had to make myself finish it. Balducci has joined the ranks of Grisham and others who are writing only for a paycheck..

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2007 2:58:26 PM PST
I agree. Baldacci's books are really poor. I keep hoping that he will create characters with dimension--real, palpable humans. Hasn't happened yet. Simple Genius, however, was the WORST!! AWFUL!!!

Posted on Jan 5, 2008 5:25:58 PM PST
Jorge Frid says:
I agree with both. If you don't have anything to read read Baldacci's

Posted on Jan 8, 2008 3:02:43 PM PST
The only reason I am finishing Simple Genius is that I hate to quit anything. I have never been thrilled with his writing style, but the story lines carried me on. The is definitely my last Baldacci book. The quality of his writing is pathetic, the dialogue almost as bad as Robin Cook's, and the story so amateurish and ridiculous that I keep screaming out loud. I won't go through this again.
Some writers tell a good story and can get away with weak literary skills. Baldacci no longer can.

Posted on Jun 9, 2008 7:30:19 PM PDT
This was my first Baldacci book and will almost certainly be my last. I couldn't finish it. I too have the impression that talented writers sometimes write for the deadline (Lincoln and Child's Brimstone was a similar huge disappointment while their Ice Limit is one of my favorite all time technothrillers).

Posted on Mar 22, 2011 7:55:31 AM PDT
S. King says:
I have just finished reading Simple Genius. Despite being named Sean King, I related most to the character Horatio Barnes. The character Monk Turing is stated in the book as a relative of Alan Turing. As an archaeologist I see connections between the names Michael Ventris and Alicia Chadwick (she could be related to John Chadwick) and the history of code and language decipherment (specifically Linear B). During wars there are overlaps between cryptology and philology. And of course the fictional George Smiley is both a spy and a philologist.
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Cynthia K. Robertson

Location: beverly, new jersey USA

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