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Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Sixth Man by David Baldacci (Sean and Michelle #5)

The Sixth Man (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #5)The Sixth Man by David Baldacci

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb: Edgar Roy--an alleged serial killer held in a secure, fortress-like Federal Supermax facility--is awaiting trial. He faces almost certain conviction. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are called in by Roy's attorney, Sean's old friend and mentor Ted Bergin, to help work the case. But their investigation is derailed before it begins--en route to their first meeting with Bergin, Sean and Michelle find him murdered.

It is now up to them to ask the questions no one seems to want answered: Is Roy a killer? Who murdered Bergin? With help from some surprising allies, they continue to pursue the case. But the more they dig into Roy's past, the more they encounter obstacles, half-truths, dead-ends, false friends, and escalating threats from every direction. Their persistence puts them on a collision course with the highest levels of the government and the darkest corners of power. In a terrifying confrontation that will push Sean and Michelle to their limits, the duo may be permanently parted.

Read as an audio book.

This was a "panic pick" - I was heading out on a road trip, the book I had put on hold was missing in the system, and I needed something NOW. Assured by the librarian that The Sixth Man could be read as a stand alone, I grabbed it.

And loved every minute! This is an enjoyable, slightly over the top (aren't they all?), political/mystery/thriller that is perfect to just zone out on - pure brain candy.

Later, a quick search on Goodreads said this is book #5 in the series. Now the plot alludes to earlier "things", but I never felt I was missing huge chunks of story line or plot arc.

As with the John Puller series on audio, there is a male and female narrator which works very well and something I quite applaud. And, as with the John Puller series, it was the same narrators - whom I ADORE - but unfortunately, in my head, using the same narrator made the book feel like a John Puller copy in some regards. Several regards, which I'll expound on below.

My tiny complaints:

This felt similar to The Escape by Baldacci (John Puller #3). Rising star/super smart guy is framed for a crime he didn't commit, elaborate high-profile prison escape, uber-secret female government agent, government really wants the prisoner back, murders, cover-ups, search for the truth...some very comparable threads woven throughout.  Perhaps too many

Many of the murders seemed over the top and unnecessary. Trying to "cover-up" the E-program by bumping off person after person when so many people already know about it? That just didn't jive with me.

The climatic conclusion was somewhat predictable given the foreshadowing earlier in the plot. 

Despite my noted quirks, as I said above, this is just fun brain candy. I enjoyed the back and forth between Sean and Michelle, Kelly Paul was an interesting gal, and the double-crossing by everyone kept me engaged by following the who's stabbing who in the back.

I greatly appreciated that Michelle and Sean didn't jump into the sack on-page - there was reference to them sleeping together previously and how it was affecting their current relationship and expectations. That kind of rapport I can get behind. I have little tolerance for the standard cookie-cutter romances found in so many of these thrillers/mysteries.

Overall, fun. I'll be going back to read the first four in the series. Recommended (even as a stand alone!)!

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