Sam Wingo was Special Forces and a man with a mission. He was also a family man and a patriot. His assignment had been a year in the making, after being handpicked for the job. It was supposed to be “fail safe.” So what happened to a top-secret and highly valuable truckload entrusted to Sam in Afghanistan? All he knows is that the original plan changed and left him running for his life.
On the surface, it looks bad for Sam. Very bad. When he calls his immediate superior, the man has no encouraging words for him, only an order: Come in so we can work this out. But Sam hears an underlying message that holds only the promise of a future in some remote military prison --- or even worse --- so he decides to go it alone for now. His biggest priority is to clear his name, as his honor matters immensely to him. But where does he even start? He knows it’s a long shot and none of his choices are good, but he must find a way. “Someone had screwed him. He wasn’t turning the other cheek. He was a soldier. Soldiers were not wired for compassion or forgiveness. They were trained to strike back when struck.”
"With everything in the news about the Middle East, oil, arms, terrorists and endless scandals, David Baldacci’s latest thriller is not only highly relevant, it is also well timed."
Back home in the States, Sam’s son, Tyler, has just received news that his father was killed in Afghanistan. His mother is already dead. Now his father? What does he have left? A stepmother he barely knows and doesn’t love. That’s it. In his grief and rage, he reaches out to private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. If anyone can find out what happened to Sam, it is this pair. But no one could envision the resistance they would meet. And it seems to be coming at them from all angles, including, most troublesomely, their own government. Men in big, black SUVs keep turning up and warning them off in ways apparently meant to instill deep fear. Little do they realize that King and Maxwell don’t scare easily. And both being former Secret Service, they have a trick or two up their sleeves and ways of turning the tables. But there are other people following King and Maxwell, and they don’t play by the same rules. In fact, they don’t play by rules of any kind; they simply want to eliminate all opposition in whatever way necessary.
While the detectives try to help Tyler, they are beset by problems. The solution eludes them, almost beyond the point that it matters. At the last possible second, the shocking answer comes out. But it may be too late. Even more puzzling is the motive. No one could have foreseen it coming.
With everything in the news about the Middle East, oil, arms, terrorists and endless scandals, David Baldacci’s latest thriller is not only highly relevant, it is also well timed. And the details seem so real that it’s hard not to wonder if the author is an insider; the tone is that authentic. An absolute page-turner, KING AND MAXWELL is Baldacci at the pinnacle of his game.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on November 21, 2013