Split Second (King & Maxwell Series, Band 1)

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Split Second is David Baldacci at the top of his well-informed game, with a real sense of what the Secret Servicemen who protect the President and presidential candidates think about the job and how it feels to fail. Sean King looked away at the wrong moment and a man died; his career ended and he has spent eight years rebuilding a life. When Michelle Maxwell makes a similar mistake, she becomes convinced that there is a link between the man she lost to kidnappers and the man Sean failed to protect--and the more she learns, the more she can prove.

This is an odd couple thriller--Sean and Michelle have radically different attitudes to the job they both did well--and ingeniously put together in terms of what it tells us about the shadowy villain manipulating events and what it delays telling us about the past. It is a well-informed thriller that wears its research lightly--it has a sense of how it feels to see every large room as a potential killing ground in which you have to protect very vulnerable public men, and some charming scenes of budding romantic comedy. --Roz Kaveney