It has been said that television rots the mind while reading enhances it. Well, thanks to TNT and the new show King and Maxwell, my mind was rotted then enhanced. I've never read anything by David Baldacci. I think I unfairly lumped him in with a certain prolific writer (name withheld for my my own protection), who seems to come out with a book a month and writes very short and, to my mind, choppy chapters. Mr. Baldacci, I apologize! King and Maxwell is based upon Baldacci's series that starts with Split Second. Normally I would read the book then watch the show but in this case I watched first, read second. To be honest I'm glad that I did. The television show jumps right into the action and gives a few nuggets of background information about the two primary characters, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. Both are former Secret Service agents and now work as private detectives.
Split Second begins with the event that ultimately ends Sean King's career with the Secret Service. The presidential candidate he is guarding is assassinated on King's watch, wounding King in the process. Eight years later, Secret Service agent Michelle Maxwell's career suffers a similar fate when the candidate she is guarding is kidnapped. I am not giving away any spoilers because these events happen very quickly in the book. Maxwell is essentially put on administrative leave but she decides to launch her own investigation into the kidnapping. One of the paths she takes leads her to Sean King. Over the past eight years he has reinvented himself, going to law school, and opening a fairly successful law practice. After Maxwell's candidate is kidnapped, people around King start to die. King and Maxwell join forces to see if what happened to their candidates might be linked. There are multiple mysteries to be solved in the first book of this series and instead of being confusing it completely held my attention. Are the two events connected? Was King the real target the day of the assassination and is that why people all around King are dying? King and Maxwell have very different personalities and styles but show themselves to be competent investigators. There is of course the requisite "will they or won't they" vibe in the book, but it does not detract from the story in any way.
I'm not entirely sure I'm sold on the TV series having only seen the pilot episode, but I am sold on the books. Perhaps I should write a letter to David Baldacci letting him know that the TV show has made me a fan of his books. It might go something like this:
Dear Mr. Baldacci,
Thanks to the new TV show King and Maxwell, I was persuaded to pick up a copy of Split Second from my local library. I'm certainly glad that I did. I enjoyed the book throughly and look forward to reading more in the series. The writing is fast-paced, the cases are complicated enough to hold my attention, and the characters are interesting. Additionally, as a woman, I want to thank you for writing competent female characters that don't need a big, strong man to take care of them.
Amy~ Adult Services