Book Review: The Sixth Man (Sean King and Michelle Maxwell #5) by David Baldacci

After alleged serial killer Edgar Roy is apprehended and locked away in a mental facility private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are called in by Roy's lawyer--an old friend of Sean King--to look into the case. But their investigation is derailed before it begins: while en route to their first meeting with the lawyer, King and Maxwell discover his dead body. It is up to King and Maxwell to uncover the truth: is Roy a killer or not?

Release Date: April 12, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: NetGalley

I have been a fan of David Baldacci for years, having read eighteen of his novels.  The last Baldacci novel I read was True Blue, which I found to be somewhat formulaic and predictable, but overall still enjoyed.  I chalked my ambivalence about True Blue up to the fact that I was on the tail end of a thriller phase and decided to read other genres for a while to give myself a break from thrillers.  When I saw The Sixth Man on NetGalley I knew it was the perfect time to go back to Baldacci.

The Sixth Man reminded me of why I fell in love with Baldacci's writing in the first place.  It was fast-paced, smart, and full of surprises.  Not everything ends up rosy and perfect, and that's okay because his books are too 'real' for fantasy happily ever afters.  I like a book that keeps me guessing and makes me think, and The Sixth Man did just that.  I was not able to predict any part of the story's conclusion.  I like it when an author can outsmart me like that!

I've read several of the Sean King and Michelle Maxwell books and find them to be some of Baldacci's best work.  I love the way he portrays their relationship, especially the banter between the two.  I like that they are equal partners and each asks for what they need from the other one.  Michelle and Sean are honest with each other and don't play games, which I appreciate.

My favorite thing about The Sixth Man was the development of Edgar Roy's character.  I love reading about geniuses and Edgar has such a unique skill set, it was very interesting to read about his skills and the work he does.

I really believe that no one writes fictional government corruption better than Baldacci.  He manages to make each book different enough that the corruption plots don't feel recycled. If you've never read David Baldacci before, I would recommend starting with either Absolute Power, Split Second (the first Michelle Maxwell and Sean King novel) or The Winner.  They are all excellent reads!

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