By David Baldacci
In Simple Genius, Baldacci brings back two former Secret Service agents (now PIs), Sean King and Michelle Maxwell.
The story opens with Michelle Maxwell going through a breakdown.
Mentally stressed beyond her ability to continue a normal life – the result of some long-repressed childhood memory, Michelle ends up at a potentially suicidal bar brawl fighting a stranger. Sean’s concern for his friend makes him push Michelle to check herself into a psychiatric hospital for rest, recuperation and examination. Sean’s friend Dr. Horatio Barnes comes to help her at the rehab.
In order to pay for the facility he accepts a contract to investigate the suicide (murder) of a quantum physicist and computer scientist – Monk Turing.
Monk Turing was working for Babbage Town, Virginia, a high powered corporate think tank located across the York River from Camp Peary, a top secret CIA training facility.
The scientists at Babbage Town are very protective about their codes and quantum processors. And they need to know if Turing was murdered or did he commit suicide. Since the murder took place on CIA property Sean knows that the FBI would be involved, making things difficult for him.
It’s not long that Len Rivest, the head of Babbage Town, is found dead. This leads to further suspicions and confusions in the case. And Sean is seen pitting against the FBI, the CIA and unknown criminals involved in drug deals, secret codes, illegal detainments, illegal torture, buried treasure and Turing’s 11 year old autistic genius.
11 year old Viggie Turing is emotionally and socially disabled, but she is a mathematical genius who speaks only in codes. She holds vital information that could help Sean crack the case.
Amidst his work, all Sean is really worried about is Michelle and whether she’d be able to pull through for him.
Meanwhile, at the rehab Michelle begins to notice strange activities at the centre, with her own healing process to deal with. She uncovers a drug ring, saves a fellow inmate’s life but soon leaves the centre and lands up at Babbage Town followed by Dr. Horatio Barnes.
Michelle befriends Viggie and tries to help the case by talking with her.
This is a mesmerizing and entertaining story with an interesting plot, many eccentric characters, and a surprising ending.
Baldacci has a knack for creating suspense and engaging his readers from the very first page.
The umpteen twists, unexpected plots, diversions and clear detailing talk a lot about his skill of absorbing information and presenting it to his readers.
Simple Genius is informative, riveting, entertaining and flows without any interruptions, hooking the readers to each word.
A genius thriller/mystery writer who churns out compelling stories that keep you turning the pages without putting the book down, Baldacci sure will keep you on your seat’s edge.