[Book Review] Split Second

Split_second_coverTitle: Split Second (Sean King and Michelle Maxwell series, #1)
Author: David Baldacci
Genre: Mystery, Crime fiction, Detective
Published: October 2003 by Warner Books
Source: Purchased


Here’s a description from the author’s website:

Michelle Maxwell has just wrecked her promising career at the Secret Service. Against her instincts, she let a presidential candidate out of her sight for the briefest moment and the man whose safety was her responsibility vanished into thin air. Sean King knows how the younger agent feels. Eight years earlier, the hard-charging Secret Service agent allowed his attention to be diverted for a split second.  And the candidate he was protecting was gunned down before his eyes. Now Michelle and Sean are about to see their destinies converge.

Drawn into a maze of lies, secrets, and deadly coincidences, the two discredited agents uncover a shocking truth: that the separate acts of violence that shattered their lives were really a long time in the making – and are a long way from over…

A QUICK 411… This is the first book in the Sean King and Michelle Maxwell series. To date, there are 6 books in the series.


Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are two Secret Service agents disgraced in their line of work because they failed to ensure the safety of their protectees. After her botched assignment, Maxwell’s career in the Service lay in ruins. She seeks out King (now a lawyer), feeling a bit of kinship with him because of their common thread of misfortune. She starts digging into King’s assassination case and it turns out their cases are connected, despite the eight-year gap between the incidents. By the end of the story, King accepts Maxwell’s proposal to start a private investigation agency together.

I liked Mr. Baldacci’s narrative. It was easy to follow and straightforward, which made for a nice and relatively quick read. The plot moved along swiftly. It was a nice mix of procedural investigation and political suspense stuff. There were red herrings everywhere that I kept second-guessing my guesses on who the perpetrator might be. That being said, the story was not without flaws. For one, I found the plans of the big bad of the story to be a bit too elaborate… but I guess unhinged and deluded people do extremely crazy things, so that’s that.

I also found Sean King and Michelle Maxwell to be likable characters. I enjoyed King’s sarcasm and wit, and Maxwell’s impetuousness and determination. They make a good combination, generating some nice playful banters and sharp, snarky dialogue here and there.


I’ve never read any of David Baldacci’s books before this one. The King and Maxwell books first came to my attention when I was looking through new TV shows for the Summer 2013 season. An adaptation of which was in the list and its premise caught my fancy. After learning that the show was based on a series of mystery/crime novels by Mr. Baldacci, I thought I’d give the books a shot first before attempting to watch (too bad the series got canceled after one season; it got pretty good in the last few episodes).

Split Second is the first book in the King and Maxwell series. I liked it. It was perfect for a lazy day when I could read a book for several hours, uninterrupted (I think I finished it in half a day).  It was fast-paced, not too complicated, had enough action going on, and held my attention quite well. It had pretty interesting twists and turns. I liked the two lead characters and I was rooting for their success all the way.

I’d be glad to read another book in the King and Maxwell series, and hopefully, its plot would be as engaging or even better than this one.

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