by David Baldacci
Hour Game seems to be a bagful of red herrings. This is a complex, action-packed thriller that wraps you tight.
Wrightsburg overall is a quiet and peaceful town. But off late, the residents are in a state of shock and panic. A serial killer has committed gruesome murders,and the body count keeps increasing.
The victims are random; the motive is unknown; and the clues all mixed up, misguiding the cops and the detectives on the trail, about the identity of the unscrupulous “copy-cat” murderer.
Meanwhile, former Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell (with their new private investigation office in town) are working on a burglary case at the estate of the richest (but dysfunctional) family (Battles) in the area. But before they get to the thief they are sought by Chief of Police Todd Williams who also calls in the FBI for further investigation.
*(I’d suggest reading Split Second before grabbing this one to get a brief background detail on Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. But in case you can’t – The two are disgraced secret service agents who now have joined hands by becoming partners in a private investigation firm.)
The serial killer(s) seem to be aping the techniques and markings of other madmen, from San Francisco’s Zodiac Killer to Chicago’s infamous John Wayne Gacy.
The first murder is that of a woman and her corpse is found with a wrist watch, with the time set to one o’clock. (Copy of the Zodiac Killer.)
The second and third murder is that of a young couple, spotted at a “make-out” site, killed by a shotgun. A dog collar is found on the floorboard of their car (Copy of Son of Sam.)
The handyman accused of theft in the Battles case is also found murdered. And the fifth victim is a local resident and international tycoon Robert E. Lee Battle.
There is no connection between the (killing) techniques, nor do the victims seem related. But each murder is marked by a precise time. Too many suspects, too little time, too many messed up clues.
As the duo approach the truth there is a surprise awaiting them – apart from the fact their lives are in danger too.
It is a good read no doubt – but I did trace some flaws.
There a just about tooooo many characters. Keeping a track of them is so troublesome. After a point I actually gave up – I simply stopped caring as to who is linked to whom.
The interaction/banter of King and Maxwell is entertaining (to a certain extent) and their characterization is well done. King is a cleanliness freak while Maxwell is a slop. These two opposites make great partners though. Their energy, skill and intelligence are super-duper awesome.
There’s ample of action in the beginning but it somehow fades away towards the end. Being a Baldaci fan I couldn’t stop mid-way but I kinda lost a bit of my enthusiasm. (The loyalty still remains though.)
The suspense is good, the setting is good, the detailing is good, and so are the plots and the sub-plots. I closed it with mixed thoughts.