ShareThis Page
Time is of the essence in Baldacci’s latest |

Time is of the essence in Baldacci’s latest

The Associated Press

David Baldacci’s latest novel, “Hour Game,” is rich and deeply textured, and it marks the return of former Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, introduced in the author’s “Split Second” (2003).

King and Maxwell are now working together as private investigators, which Baldacci describes as a partnership of a supernova and a steady glacier. King is introspective and likes to think things out before taking action, while Maxwell is impulsive. Yet these skillful investigators have made their business a success.

The relative calm of Wrightsburg, Va., the small town where King and Maxwell have set up shop, is disturbed by someone savagely mimicking famous serial killers, including the San Francisco Zodiac killer and David Berkowitz, who, as Son of Sam, terrorized New York in the 1970s.

While investigating a burglary at the home of wealthy businessman Robert E. Lee Battle and his exceedingly dysfunctional family, King and Maxwell are pulled into the hunt for the murderer.

The killer leaves watches on the victims set to the hour corresponding to their position on his hit list. Yet he also writes letters insisting that he’s not a copycat, and some of the watches are set one tick off, at one minute past the hour.

“I’m not getting this,” Maxwell says. “Why commit murders in similar styles to past killers as a copycat would and then write letters making it clear you’re not them?”

As the body count grows, King begins to suspect there are two killers — and is soon a target himself.

There are terrific action sequences throughout “Hour Game,” and plenty of surprises and suspense. Like King and Maxwell, readers must follow the clues in this fast-paced whodunit.

Baldacci also manages to inject a little humor. At one point, King is incredulous that Maxwell has her gun but not her cell phone. “I think I have my priorities right,” she retorts. “What can I do with a phone, call him to death?”

A cipher disk, used to decode encrypted messages, ultimately holds the key to this intriguing mystery, one of Baldacci’s strongest thrillers in years.

Additional Information:

‘Hour Game’

Author: David Baldacci

Publisher: Warner Books, $26.95, 437 pages

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.