First Family (Sean King and Michelle Maxwell Series #4)

( 464 )

Overview

#1 New York Times bestsellingauthor David Baldacci follows the instant success of Divine Justice with another unstoppable thriller.

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, back from their harrowing and near-fatal adventure in the blockbuster #1 bestseller Simple Genius, return in a mesmerizing new thriller. A daring kidnapping turns a children's birthday party at Camp David into a national security nightmare, but the hostage is not who anyone would expect. The First Lady enlists the services of King and Maxwell to bring ...

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First Family (Sean King and Michelle Maxwell Series #4)

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Overview

#1 New York Times bestsellingauthor David Baldacci follows the instant success of Divine Justice with another unstoppable thriller.

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, back from their harrowing and near-fatal adventure in the blockbuster #1 bestseller Simple Genius, return in a mesmerizing new thriller. A daring kidnapping turns a children's birthday party at Camp David into a national security nightmare, but the hostage is not who anyone would expect. The First Lady enlists the services of King and Maxwell to bring the child back safely. Years ago, King saved her then-senator husband from an assassin's bullet; whether they shared anything else is their secret. With Michelle still recovering from her own demons the pair are pushed to the limit, with forces aligned on all sides against them, and the line between friend and foe impossible to define...or defend.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Last seen in Simple Genius, former secret service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell return for another top-secret executive mission. This time the first lady calls on them to conduct a strictly below-the-radar investigation of a daring kidnapping that took place at a Camp David kids' party. The pair's descent into this national security nightmare isn't the only thing on their minds; Michelle's emotional balance is still askew, keeping the couple at near wits' end even as they try to save a child -- and much more.
Publishers Weekly
Veteran character actor Ron McLarty brings a strong performance to a rather weak entry in Baldacci's political thriller series featuring ex-Secret Service agents turned private investigators, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. When the president's niece, 12-year-old Willa, is kidnapped, the first lady brings in King and Maxwell to help find her. Unknown to the PIs, the motive behind the abduction has the potential to shake the presidency to the core. Although the action moves swiftly enough, the plot strains credibility, and it is to McLarty's credit that he manages to impart some reality with excellent character voices and sense of urgency. His reading is exceptional during the scenes between Willa and her kidnapper as he plumbs a depth of character beyond the written words. Strategically placed sound effects enhance the listening experience. A Grand Central hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 30). (Apr.)
Washington Times
"Mr. Baldacci's books are jigsaw puzzles of intersecting events, not simple whodunits. FIRST FAMILY is no exception."
Columbus Telegram
"What Baldacci does best is provide thrills, chills, and suspense. This novel is a total surprise from beginning to end."
Oklahoman
"The story unfolds wonderfully. It's another top-flight thriller from this bestselling author, and it's good to see King and Maxwell again."
From the Publisher
"Plenty of action drives Baldacci's stellar fourth novel to feature Maxwell and King."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Mr. Baldacci's books are jigsaw puzzles of intersecting events, not simple whodunits. FIRST FAMILY is no exception."—Washington Times

"What Baldacci does best is provide thrills, chills, and suspense. This novel is a total surprise from beginning to end."—Columbus Telegram

"The story unfolds wonderfully. It's another top-flight thriller from this bestselling author, and it's good to see King and Maxwell again."—Oklahoman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594503996
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/20/2012
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David Baldacci lives with his family in Virginia. He and his wife have founded the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America. He invites you to visit him at www.davidbaldacci.com and his foundation at www.wishyouwellfoundation.org.

Biography

David Baldacci's authoritative legal thrillers operate on the irresistible notion that a sinister undercurrent threads through the country's most powerful institutions.

While his stories hinge on the complex machinations behind the presidency, the FBI, the Supreme Court and other spheres of influence, Baldacci (a former Washington, D.C.-based attorney) finds his way into a mystery through the eyes of the innocents. Semi-innocents, at least: small players who often don't realize they're players at all end up hunting down answers, and their hunt becomes the reader's.

According to Baldacci, reading John Irving's The World According to Garp convinced him that he wanted to be a novelist. Absolute Power -- in which a thief finds himself accidentally connected to a murder involving the president and the ensuing coverup -- was hardly Irvingesque; but it did begin Baldacci's friendly relationship with the bestseller lists, which has continued over his writing career.

Baldacci's style is brief and plot-driven, but he's not afraid to linger on macabre and vivid details, such as a rosary clenched in a plane crash victim's hand, or hard-learned lessons from a sniper's life (pack your food so you can find it at night, by touch). These small but memorable -- indeed, almost cinematic -- details give his books another layer that distinguishes them from the average potboiler.

Although the author has occasionally departed from his usual fare (examples include the tenderhearted coming-of-age tale Wish You Well and the holiday-themed adventure The Christmas Train), it is high-octane thrillers that are his true stock in trade. Whether it's a taut stand-alone or a new installment in his Camel Club series, readers know when they crack the spine of a new Baldacci book, they're in for an action-packed page-turner.

.

Good To Know

Baldacci was a trial lawyer and a corporate lawyer for nine years in Washington, D.C.

He worked his way through college as a Pinkerton security guard and by washing and detailing 18-wheel trucks.

Baldacci writes under his own name except when published in Italy, where he uses a pseudonym because it is the homeland of his ancestors.

Bill Clinton selected The Simple Truth as his favorite novel of 1998, according to Baldacci's web site.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northern Virginia
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 5, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Richmond, VIrginia
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1982; J.D., University of Virginia, 1986
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 464 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(187)

4 Star

(144)

3 Star

(68)

2 Star

(34)

1 Star

(31)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 465 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    First Family

    I've been a fan of David Baldacci from the beginning and have read all of his novels. First Family did not disappoint!
    Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, Secret Service Agents turned private eyes, are contacted by the First Lady - Jane Cox. Her neice has been kidnapped. The FBI is heading up the investigation, but Cox has dealt with King in the past and trusts him. She wants an extra set of eyes looking that report to her alone.
    This was an excellent story, told from both the viewpoint of the kidnapper and those looking for him. The reasons behind the kidnapping are slowly and deliciously eked out, keeping my interest piqued. The character development is excellent as is the secondary plot line involving Michelle.
    Ron McClarty was the reader and he did a phenomal job of bringing the characters to life. His voice is rich and pleasant to listen to. Each character was easily defined with a different voice. His inflections conveyed the emotions and nuances of the plot extremely well.
    I knew I would enjoy the story as I knew the author from previous reads. Excellent book.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Disappointed

    I love David Baldaci and have read most of his books, so I was thrilled to get a copy of his newest novel.
    After struggling through 200 pages, I closed the book and decided that my time is too valuable to waste on the nonsense I was reading. This is by far from Baldaci's best, and I was shocked at the poor quality of the writing.
    I very rearely put a book down in the middle of reading it, but this one is not worth the struggle of finishing.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2009

    Interesting Read

    I listened to this book while driving 1500 miles.It kept me guessing right to the end and I did not guess the plot once. Really enjoyed it.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    David Baldacci creates an impossible situation with believable characters. When the president's niece is abducted from 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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Quick Review

    Fast paced - this book had me hooked from the beginning!

    I love how Baldacci weaves these tales, intertwining the characters lives. I mean, these books aren't happily ever after for all the characters involved, but it's fast paces, it keeps moving, my mind was constantly trying to figure it all out and I could hardly put the book down!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read

    Baldacci does not disappoint. This book definitely holds up to his high standard of suspense and mystery. Excellent plot, and writing. Couldn't wait to find out how he solved the case, it's different every time. Love his books!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    Baldacci favorite

    Love all his books - this one certainly didn't disappoint! great read for a long plane trip or a beach vacation - hard to put down!

    Great character development and intriguing plot.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2009

    Baldacci is one of our favorite authors.

    Baldacci is one of our favorite authors. His stories are detailed and engaging. The reader can relate to the characters throughout and he makes it seem so realistic. What a great book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Terrific read, as always for David Baldacci & Ron McLarty

    I loved this book. I turned off my cell phone so that no one could call and interupt me while I was driving. This book has the greatest twists, turns and personal intrigues. I love Mr. Baldacci's characters and Mr. McLarty as the reader. A dynamic duo!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I think I know who the models for First Family are

    Yes, the book was a tad too long with some flaws, but all-in-all it is a good read. I do believe Bill and Hillary were the models for two of the main characters!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    One great read

    This is the best book I've read for a while. The characters are believable, the suspense is great,

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2009

    A Sympathetic Villain

    I was ready for this novel, which reunites Sean King and Michelle Maxwell for the third time. In the last novel, Michelle was working with a wonderful psychiatrist, Horatio Barnes to deal with many issues. In the first chapter, Michelle breaks into his office to steal her file so she can see what she has said under hypnosis. I'm not going to give anything away, but if you are hoping to see more of "mid guru, Horatio Barnes you will be disappointed.

    Although this novel has been given bad reviews, I really like it because it tells many stories. In this novel, you find a father haunted by his daughter's vegetative state due to a botched back-alley abortion. He lives in an ate-bellum house in rural Alabama, with his housekeeper Ruth and her son, Gabriel. Gabriel is a very smart 12-year-old African-American boy who he loves like a son and in many ways, Gabriel is his best friend; in my opinion, this is as much Mr.' Sam and Gabriel's story, as it is the titled characters.

    When the president's niece his kidnapped the First Lady asks her friend, Sean King to find her niece, which infuriates the FBI agents handling the case. The author tells his partner and friend Michelle Maxwell how he came to meet the First Lady and why she trusts him so much. He comes to realize that the First Lady is using their trust and friendship to suit her own desires.

    From there the plot screams off in several different directions at once. Our villain is revealed to be a loving dad, and the First Lady's brother a philandering cad. So much for hobbies. Sean chases down a couple of leads which turn out to be dead ends but not before adding some bulk to this volume.

    In a subplot, thst is seperate from the main plot, Michelle's mother dies and when she comes home from the funeral it soon becomes clear that the story her father his telling about how his wife died is not corroborated by the evidence. She knows that her father is hiding something and is afraid he may have killed his wife. Sean comes to Nashville to support Michelle and she shares her suspicions. They end up investigating two cases, hundred of miles apart at the same time.

    In reality, many politicians or anyone with enough money and power are never held accountable (Chappaquiddick is called to mind), for their past and present actions. Here the author tells of an uneducated father who pieces together events decades old over time and seeks revenge on the people who harmed his beloved daughter. He aims to make them pay and he does not care how powerful they are.

    While Horatio Barnes is not in the story, Michelle is forced to work on her issues with the death of her mother. In dong so she becomes a softer more caring woman who is finally able to open her heart to love on many different levels. I am forward to the continuation of the three characters in another novel.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thriller fans will fully relish FIRST FAMILY as the action keeps on coming and the tension growing

    In DC First Lady Jane Cox hires former secret service agents turned private investigators Michelle Maxwell and Sean King to rescue her abducted twelve year old year niece Willa, who daringly was kidnapped following a birthday party at Camp David; her mom, sister-in-law to President Cox was killed in the assault. Jane chose the pair because she knows they get results as King saved her husband's life when he was a senator.-----------------

    The evidence makes no sense to the sleuths as it points to a lone cowboy, an Alabama sexagenarian. They cannot see how Sam Quarry swiped a First relative from under the noses of the Secret Service. Everything they learn about him points to his being so obsessed, Sean and Michele believe he is willing to die; but they remain ignorant why he is so fixated on the First extended family. Meanwhile, Michele still shaky from the near death experience in SIMPLE GENIUS, is reeling with the death of her mom and so Sean fears she will be no use when he makes his concerted effort to save the First tweener.--------------

    Though the plot seems unlikely, David Baldacci makes it feel plausible as he hooks the audience from the onset and never loosens his grip until the climax. The story line is fast-paced form the moment the attack occurs and never takes a breath even when the focus is on Michele's personal issues and doubts. Thriller fans will fully relish FIRST FAMILY as the action keeps on coming and the tension growing.-----------

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fast-Paced Action

    Sean King and Michelle Maxwell have been hired to help on the hottest crime around. The President's niece, Willa, has been kidnapped in a home invasion and her mother killed. Willa's dad, Tuck, is the First Lady's brother. Jane Cox, the First Lady, has known Sean for years and trusts him to work on the case without political bias.

    Sean and Michelle, private investigators who both retired from the Secret Service, are thrown into the fray. Was this a kidnap for ransom? A terrorist plot to force concessions from the President? Or a crime focused personally on Willa's family and the desire to hurt her parents? It is unclear what kind of crime the two are dealing with.

    Far away in Alabama, Sam Quarry has his own problems. He has a daughter who has been in a coma for thirteen years. His son is a deserter from the Army and not exactly heir material. Sam's other 'family' are Ruth Ann and Gabriel, her son. Ruth Ann has been the Quarry housekeeper for years, and Gabriel has grown up in the household. How does this family's troubles fit in with those of the Cox family?

    This is the seventeenth novel by David Baldacci, and Sean and Michelle are repeat characters, first seen in his bestseller, Simple Genius. Baldacci delivers as always, an action-packed thriller that saves a punch of excitement for the final revelations. This book is recommended for suspense lovers who enjoy fast-paced action.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    David Baldacci is, without a doubt, our new favorite author. He has surpassed all the rest of our favorite reads.

    The twists and turns in this book were amazing. One's past does come to visit and it can be devastating. The characters in this book were so unique - we kept rooting for the "bad guy" and, of course, the kids. A very good book - difficult to put down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Read...with one glitch!!

    My wife and I listened to this on audio tape during a recent road trip and could not wait to get the next disk into the CD. We loved the characters and the conclusion of the story.

    However, I was surprised by the error they made with Sam's character. He allegedly was an F-4 pilot in Vietnam, but since he also allegedly enlisted, there is no way he could be a pilot, only officers were fighter pilots.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2009

    Ho Hum

    While I wanted to know how the story ended, it was almost a tedious read. I'm not fond of David Baldacci's style, and this was my least favorite yet. I was disappointed to say the least.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2009

    Not his best

    This was definitely not my favorite Baldacci book. The subplot regarding Michelle's mother detracted from the other story and was boring, and the resolution of that subplot was anticlimactic. Not his best, by far.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    Another good Baldacci page turner.

    The plot has many twists and turns.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2009

    Could not put it down...just when you think you solve the crime or the hero will out guess the "bad guy," another twist and turn. Riviting!

    Excellent!
    Character study:You see the characters...almost reach out and touch them, get inside their head.
    Plot: The story was never too gruesome like Patterson's...left some to the imagination which is the purest form of an excellent story. David Baldacci is a favorite of all time. He is up there with Nelson DeMille, Dick Francis, and John Grisham as mystery/suspense authors.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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