Hour Game (Sean King and Michelle Maxwell Series #2)

Hour Game (Sean King and Michelle Maxwell Series #2)

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by David Baldacci
     
 

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"A woman is found murdered in the woods with a very special watch on her wrist - and what seemed a simple case soon escalates into a nightmare. The criminal methods of some of the most infamous killers of all time are being replicated by a new predator who stalks and strikes victims with a cunning brilliance. No one can understand the murderer's motives or who the…  See more details below

Overview

"A woman is found murdered in the woods with a very special watch on her wrist - and what seemed a simple case soon escalates into a nightmare. The criminal methods of some of the most infamous killers of all time are being replicated by a new predator who stalks and strikes victims with a cunning brilliance. No one can understand the murderer's motives or who the next victim will be." "Drawn into this violent affair are two Secret Service agents turned private investigators, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. Both have been hired to prove a man's innocence in a domestic burglary involving an aristocratic, if dysfunctional, family. Soon stunning secrets will lead the partners into the middle of a frantic search for a killer unlike any they've confronted before." As the Hour Game barrels forward, Sean and Michelle face a macabre puzzle and uncover one horrifying revelation after another. Nearing the truth, they will find that their own lives are in danger. And then they're hit with the biggest surprise of all. When you play the Hour Game, you have to play to win. But time is running out for all of them.

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Editorial Reviews

A savage serial killer is on the loose in rural Virginia; a murderer who adds insult to injury by leaving taunting signs on his victims. While investigating another crime, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are pulled into the serial killer hunt. As they search for the countryside slayer, they begin to suspect that the two cases may be connected. Worse yet, they realize that a second killer has joined the fray, imitating the murders of the first....

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455550791
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
03/25/2014
Series:
Sean King and Michelle Maxwell Series, #2
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
316,309
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Hour Game


By David Baldacci

Warner Books

Copyright © 2004 Columbus Rose, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-53108-1


Chapter One

THE MAN IN THE RAIN SLICKER WALKED slightly bent over, his breathing labored and his body sweaty. The extra weight he was bearing, though not all that substantial, was awkwardly placed, and the terrain was uneven. It was never an easy thing to tote a dead body through the woods in the middle of the night. He shifted the corpse to his left shoulder and trudged on. The soles of his shoes bore no distinguishing marks; not that it would have mattered, since the rain quickly washed away any traces of footprints. He'd checked the forecast; the rain was why he was here. The inclement weather was the best friend he could ask for.

Aside from the dead body draped over his sturdy shoulder, the man was also remarkable for the black hood he wore, on which was stitched an esoteric symbol that ran down the length of the cloth. It was a circle with a crosshairs through its middle. Probably instantly recognizable to anyone over the age of fifty, the logo once inspired a dread that had significantly eroded with time. It didn't matter that no one "alive" would see him wearing the hood; he took grim satisfaction in its lethal symbolism.

Within ten minutes he'd reached the location he'd carefully selected on an earlier visit, and laid the body down with a reverence that belied the violent manner in which the person had died. He took a deep breath and held it as he undid the telephone wire holding the bundle closed, and unwrapped the plastic. She was young with features that had been attractive two days prior; the woman was not much to look at now. The soft blond hair fell away from the greenish-tinged skin, revealing closed eyes and bloated cheeks. Had the eyes been open, they might have still held the startled gaze of the deceased as she endured her own murder, an experience replicated roughly thirty thousand times each year in America.

He slid the plastic all the way free and laid the woman on her back. Then he let out his breath, fought the urge to retch caused by the stench of the body, and sucked in another lungful of air. Using one of his gloved hands and his light, he searched for and found the small, forked branch that he'd earlier placed in the bramble nearby. He used this to support the woman's forearm, which he'd positioned such that it was pointing to the sky. The body's rigor mortis, though rapidly fading, had made the task difficult, but he was strong and had finally levered the stiffened limb to the correct angle. He took the watch out of his pocket, checked with his flashlight to make sure it was set properly, and placed it around the dead woman's wrist.

Though far from a religious man, he knelt over the body and muttered a brief prayer, cupping his hand over his mouth and nose as he did so.

"You weren't directly responsible, but you were all I had. You didn't die in vain. And I believe you're actually better off." Did he really believe what he had just said? Maybe not. Maybe it didn't matter.

He looked at the dead woman's face, studying her features scrupulously as though a scientist observing a particularly fascinating experiment. He had never killed another person before. He'd made it quick and, he hoped, painless. In the dull, misty night the woman seemed surrounded by a yellowish glow, as though she'd already become a spirit.

He drew farther back and examined the area all around, checking for any extraneous items that might lead to evidence against him. He discovered only a piece of cloth from his hood that had caught on a bush near where the body lay. Careless, you can't afford that. He placed it in his pocket. He spent several more minutes looking for other such items nearing microscopic size.

In the world of criminal investigation it was these forensic "no-see-ums" that did one in. A single drop of blood, semen or saliva, a smudge of fingerprint, a hair follicle with a bit of DNA-littered root attached, and the police could be reading you your rights while prosecutors circled hungrily nearby. Unfortunately, even full awareness of that reality offered little protection. Every criminal, no matter how careful, left potentially incriminating material at the crime scene. Thus, he'd taken great care to have no direct physical contact with the dead woman as though she were an infectious agent that could cause a fatal disease.

He rolled up the plastic and pocketed the telephone cord, checked the watch once more and then slowly made his way back to his car.

Behind him lay the dead woman, her hand upraised to the watery heavens. Her watch was slightly luminous in the dark and made a dull beacon for her new resting place. She wouldn't remain undiscovered for long. Dead bodies aboveground rarely did, even in places as isolated as this.

As he drove off, the hooded man used his finger to trace the symbol on his hood, making the sign of the cross at the same time. The crosshairs symbol also appeared on the face of the watch he'd placed on the dead woman's wrist. That should certainly get a rise out of them. He took a breath full of excitement as well as dread. For years he had imagined that this day would never come. For years his courage had faltered. Now that the first step had been taken, he felt a great sense of empowerment and liberation.

He shifted into third gear and sped up, his tires grabbing the slicked roadway and holding firm as the darkness swallowed up the lights of his blue VW. He wanted to get to where he was going as fast as possible.

He had a letter to write.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Hour Game by David Baldacci Copyright © 2004 by Columbus Rose, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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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.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Northern Virginia
Date of Birth:
August 5, 1960
Place of Birth:
Richmond, VIrginia
Education:
B.A. in Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1982; J.D., University of Virginia, 1986
Website:
http://www.david-baldacci.com/

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Hour Game (Sean King and Michelle Maxwell Series #2) 3.8 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 265 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading Split Second I was wishing the story would continue so when this book popped up on my Nook screen, I downloaded it right away. It has some interesting plot twists and turns and kept me guessing until the end. The characters of King and Maxwell are more defined in this book as their association as investigators grows. Intersting play on character names in the book as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me guessing to firgure who the killers were.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought Baldacci was going to run out of characters to kill off!!! This is a must read! Bravo to Baldacci.
skipperCB More than 1 year ago
well worth taking the time to read
Mizzie More than 1 year ago
It started a little slow but picked up after the first chapter. I was certainly a page turner, it kept you on your toes. The ending keeps you wanting the next book which I am reading now "Simple Genius". Also a good book I am still trying to figure out what the plot is but I is intreguing nonetheless. Read this book you will become a Fan of David Baldacci like I have become.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't believe i struggled to get through this novel. I didn't think it was even possible to struggle so much. I'm sorry I like Baldacci and his previous but this Hour Game was unreadable. If i afdended anyone - I am truly contrite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Story is totally absurd. Get to the point where you are just reading the words to get to the end.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Billyt1 More than 1 year ago
A good read with flaws. Lacking in character development especially as to the protagonists. Many unnecessary secondary characters and too many murders just to cover up the crime or divert the main characters attention. Bullets hitting bullets is silly. The development of the ill-fated relationships by both main characters is not credible.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Has the twists and turns to keep the interest up. I really like the partnership of King and Maxwell. Easy reading.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite line so far, " one never knew where a nine-millimeter SIG with fourteen rounds might come in handy" Our hero, Michelle Maxwell says this while on vacation and she's on her morning run.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago