Hour Game

by David Baldacci

Hardcover, 2004



Fiction. Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:A man accused of burglary seems innocent . . . but in this #1 New York Times bestseller, two ex-Secret Service agents quickly learn that nothing is more dangerous than the truth.A woman is found murdered in the woods. It seems like a simple case but it soon escalates into a terrible nightmare. Someone is replicating the killing styles of the most infamous murderers of all time. No one knows this criminal's motives...or who will die next. Two ex-Secret Service agents, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, have been hired to defend a man's innocence in a burglary involving an aristocratic family. Then a series of secrets leads the partners right into the frantic hunt that is confounding even the FBI. Now King and Maxwell are playing the Hour Game, uncovering one horrifying revelation after another and putting their lives in danger. For the closer they get to the truth, the closer they get to the most shocking surprise of all.… (more)

Library's rating


½ (686 ratings; 3.6)


Virginia Literary Awards (Winner — 2005)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Crombie999
The Hour game is a mystery/suspense novel by David Baldacci. Normally I do not read mystery novels, or even fictional books. For the past few years I have preferred to read only nonfiction, and rarely would a fiction novel engage me, but this author seems to have recaptured my interest in realistic
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fiction. The book revolves around two private detectives and their pursuit of a mastermind serial killer.
This was actually the second of three books of Baldacci’s I’ve read, the other two were good, but The Hour Game was easily my favorite. My dad was the one who recommended that I read these three, and I was surprised because never in my life had I seen him read a mystery. The books were actually given to him by my uncle who is a follower of Baldacci’s novels. The book was about 700 pages long, but it only took me three days to read, which must say something about how much I enjoyed it.
I think the way this book was written is the key to why I was so attracted to it. Baldacci has a fairly unique and captivating writing style. He always keeps his reader interested with sudden twists, and never allows one thing to drag, or he doesn’t dwell on one subject longer than necessary. Something is always happening in the novel. Another thing I admired in his writing was that he allowed his reader to create their own conception of what the characters and scene looked like. A lot of times when I read, the author will have these long descriptive paragraphs on what a tree looks like or how someone walks. Baldacci gives a very basic description that allows him to characterize, but still leave room for his reader’s natural assumptions of what someone may look like.
The characterization of the people was another thing I thought was very interesting. Certain chapters of the book were seen through the serial killers eyes, where we could learn what he was thinking in doing, but without actually learning his identity. This allowed the author to characterize him without revealing who he was and ruin the mystery. It made it very fascinating when the identity of the killer was revealed, and we found that it was another character that had been involved since nearly the beginning. After that it was actually difficult to think about, because it was like combining the personalities of two people who have suddenly become one.
One thing I did not like about the book was the details of the mystery. In each of the three I read the whole story came together near the end, where all the pieces were suddenly coming into place, but it is written so that the reader cannot possibly solve it since certain things are left out. It makes one think that they might have it solved, but an extra fact or person is introduced right before the mystery is solved. Although I didn’t like how that was done, it didn’t make me think anything less of the actual story.
The Hour Game is one of my favorite books now. Reading it made me realize how important the particular styles of writers are to my enjoyment. Finding a good book to read is usually a problem for me, but if I find a writer that I really like, then it is a lot simpler. One of the things I worry about in British literature is that I won’t like, or be accustomed to the way these authors write. Even if a book has a good plot, it can be ruined by a poor delivery of this story. I feel that older styles of writing will be more difficult to follow, and I won’t get as much out of the book as I should have.
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LibraryThing member Jiraiya
I guess doing a recurring thing as a hobby can seem pointless. Not reading, but reviewing. The Hour Game, though a book I enjoyed amply, cannot give rise to an insightful review. Also I'm trying to make it the last book read this year, instead of the penultimate one. The book bears the signature of
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its author. Only I can't decide if that's beneficial all the way through.

Make no mistake, The Hour Game is, by high standards, a paint by numbers book. From the way I see it, it has a great heart. It's a guilty pleasure. Not because of sappy romance, but its cliched style, not because of its willful body count, but because of the innocent prose, not because of its sexual murders (there aren't any here), but because I'm confident that Baldacci tried to write in a different hand and couldn't quite pull it off.

The most distinctive trait of this book is that the chapter endings are so lame. I may have missed some double entendre, but I won't bet on it. The book is very pious considering the subject matter. It seems like an old book from the 70's or so. What removes this illusion is the characterization of its main villain. Some of his motives seem nonsensical, but he as a person rings true. Having said that, I luckily did see through the mystery in a flash of lucidity. As for the second murderer, I can take no credit for that as it was very plainly obvious. This was the exceptional book where a cruel murder hasn't taken place in fine Baldacci style. This is why I think the author was experimenting to stay fresh. As a fan, I think he did accomplish much of his intent.

PS - You know, it's frustrating to write a book review after outputting more than 300 of them. Especially if you look like you're going downhill quality-wise. Choosing which book to read is almost as perilously cerebral. Nothing can be guaranteed. I thank my readers(all two of them!) of their interest in my reviews. I await next year with languorous trepidation.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
The reason I only gave this a two and a half star rating, is that I use the ratings for my own personal quick guide to my reactions to what I read. This book was not a bad read, and may perfectly appeal to other readers, but my tastes do not run to the serial type of killers. I felt the mystery was
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sound, with several viable suspects and clues to follow. I liked the main characters, though again, my tastes run more to the light side. I had issues with the narrator, trying to do a woman's voice with a slight lisp grates on my soul. Otherwise, he was a good reader.
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LibraryThing member mramos
Once again David Baldacci has written a book I did not want to put down. It is a page turner. I do admit that there are various sub-plots within the book. A a myriad of characters with many interrealtionships. But I loved this. And they are all well written. I am sure this book will be made into a
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This book brings back Secret Service Agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. Only this time they are former agents who have founded their own Private Investigation firm. They are hired to prove the innocence of a man that has been charged with burglarizing the wealthest family in town, the Battles. But rather quickly you will see that this investigation takes a back seat. For our two detectives are brought in as deputies to help solve a quickly growing number of murders by a serial killer.

I found the investigation to be run in an authentic manner. And a good level of detail. There is some misdirection in the book, that makes it hard to detrmine the killer ahead of time. But I was able to determine the who at the very end before the detectives mentioned it, but not the why. But Baldacci does a good job of tying up all the loose ends. Though the book screams for a sequel. Have a good read...I did.
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LibraryThing member PointedPundit
Forget Your Plans

Two disgraced Secret Service Agents team up to investigate a burglary. The plot quickly evolves into a series of copy-cat murders. If you pick this book up, cancel your plans. You won’t put it down until you reach the surprise finish.
LibraryThing member readafew
Hour Game is the second book in the King and Maxwell series and the first I have read. It started off like a shot and kept the story running from beginning to end. Both King and Maxwell are x-secret service, Maxwell was an Olympian and King is a lawyer and they are in business together as private
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investigators. King is the brains and Maxwell is the brawn but only in relation to each other and they make a pretty dangerous team to go up against.

The story starts out with King and Maxwell near the end of a long dry spell for work. A local handy man is accused of robbery and K & M are hired to find out if he's innocent. Shortly after that several grisly murders are discovered in the area and since it is a relatively small town and Maxwell found the first body the local Sheriff asks them to help in the investigation. What is interesting is the two unrelated cases seem to have more and more in common as time goes by. But at the same time the body count continues to rise, more pressure is put on everyone and the populace of the little town is starting to panic. Who's next on the killer spree? Can K & M catch the killer/s before he/she strikes again?

Overall I enjoyed this book it really kept up the pace and helped the miles fly by while I was driving. I wasn't real sure who the killer was until near the end but the likely suspect list was rather short. I didn't rate this as a great book because it wasn't, even Baldacci's 'The Camel Club' books are a step above but it was still a gripping read none the less.
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LibraryThing member debavp
Not a great follow up to Split Second. Too many murderers running around an affluent rural town crossing each other up and pissing each other off in the process, a totally unbelievable plot. The main characters, hard to determine who's the male and who's the female at times--instead of saying
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they're one step away from being ...., let's say they're both a bit 'affectatious' and leave it at that.
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LibraryThing member edwardsgt
A very long Sean King/Michelle Maxwell story (over 700 pages in paperback), which is set in fictional Wrightsburg, where the Battle family are are the centre of a story of a brutal, apparently serial killer. King and Michelle, the ex-Secret Service private investigators are invited to help solve
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the case and become deeply involved themselves. Plenty of twists and turns before the killer and their motive is unmasked. Kept me entertained, but perhaps overly long.
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LibraryThing member seldombites
This was an entertaining book to read, and not as obvious as most murder mysteries. The characters were engaging and the plot kept me guessing to the end. This wasn't an enthralling book, but it is worth reading.
LibraryThing member she_climber
Book two of the Maxwell and King series and I'm continuing to enjoy it. The bodies in the book were piling up and had me guessing as to who the murder/murders were for the majority of the book. Lots of twists and turns. Looking forward to the third installment and curious to see if yet again
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attempts will be made on Maxwell and King's lives - not sure how they can survive much longer.
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LibraryThing member sonyainf
Pretty good book, I like anything by David Baldacci, but this was a long, complicated story. There were multiple murders by a serial killer and then a body made to look like the serial killer's victim, but was killed by someone else. It was hard to keep it all straight while I was reading and I'm
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still a little confused....The story was about a rich, disfunctional family with affairs, lies, and secrets and one son's revenge for his brother who died from lack of medical treatment just to save the family embarrassment.
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LibraryThing member peggyar
A serial killer begins killing people in this quiet Southern town and it appears as though he is copying serial killers' methods from the past. Two former Secret Service agents who now have a private agency are helping solve the case.
LibraryThing member rctc62880
Excellent book. Could not put down.
LibraryThing member dekan
He's copying famous serial killers and the game has just begun.

A woman is found murdered in the woods. It seems like a simple case but it soon escalates into a terrible nightmare. Someone is replicating the killing styles of the most infamous murderers of all time. No one knows this criminal's
Show More
motives...or who will die next.

Two ex-Secret Service agents, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, have been hired to defend a man's innocence in a burglary involving an aristocratic, dysfunctional family. Then a series of secrets leads the partners right into the frantic hunt that is confounding even the FBI. Now King and Maxwell are playing the Hour Game, uncovering one horrifying revelation after another and putting their lives in danger. For the closer they get to the truth, the closer they get to the most shocking surprise of all.
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LibraryThing member chymekeeper
What a surprise this book was... There was so many twists and turns and suspense... I kept thinking ok it has to be this person due to the evidence but in the end it was never what you ever expected! I recommend if you like suspense and a book to try and figure out ... This is the one ...
LibraryThing member MacJoyful
There are too many plots and characters. It's a good book but you need a murder board to keep track. It's a pretty good story and worth the read.
LibraryThing member Kathy89
Didn't like this one as well as the others in the series. Put it down and had to start it a couple of times. King and Maxwell are tracking a copy cat serial killer who leaves behind a certain type of watch and takes souvenirs. The chemistry between Sean and Michelle was more interesting than plot.
LibraryThing member Neverwithoutabook
This second story in the Sean King / Michelle Maxwell series was fantastic! Not only was I almost glued to the book, but I didn't figure out the ending at all. Not a bit did I expect it. David Baldacci kept the killer hidden in plain sight throughout the story. I thought I had it a couple of times
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only to be proven wrong. Guess that's why David Baldacci is one of the best thriller writers around! Read it! I defy you to figure out who the killer is before all is revealed.
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LibraryThing member ChrisNorbury
Baldacci has reached the point in his career where he can produce a weaker than excellent book (by his standards) and still have it become a bestseller. The story unfolded over a long time period, the plot became rather intricate,with numerous subplots tripping over each other, making the task of
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following the story and keeping characters straight a bit of a challenge. Tightening by about 10% would have produced a much better pace and intensity. Still, the ending was clever, and the extra twist there was well-executed. Maxwell and King (the two protags) are building a good dynamic, with sexual undertones, but each has distinct skills and personalities.
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LibraryThing member Y2Ash
You know things are intense when a book starts off with a dead girl being dragged in the woods to be posed.

Spoilers Ahead!

David Baldacci's Hour Game, the second in the King and Maxwell series, starts off like that. In fact, it looks like the killer might be a Zodiac copycat but that theory goes out
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the window when another body appears using another infamous murderer' M.O.

But this is not the case ex-Secret Service Agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, who have started a P.I. business together have been hire to investigate. Their case is investigating a burglary at the house of a very prominent Southern family called The Battles. Honestly, King and Maxwell are trying to reinforce if the suspect for the burglary did the actual crime.

Now, does this home invasion crime connect with the serial killings going on? Yes! Yes they connect, converge, and overlap into 500 pages of an intense old fashioned murder mystery. The character of Sean King definitely reminded me of Columbo multiple times during this book.

Baldacci knows how to captivate and draw me into his narrative. He did it with Split Second and achieved it again with Hour Game. These books are big but so addicting they go by quickly. I knew things were going to get very intricate and complex when I had to draw my own Battle Family map along with acquaintances. Everybody who was introduced was somehow connected with the Battle Family.

My only complaint is that I wish Michelle had more to do. I know from the duo that she's the braun so have her be exceptional at it like King is exceptional at being the brains. Her abilities seem to have backpedal from Split Second.
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LibraryThing member MomsterBookworm
Unlike the first book in the series, which was about secret service presidential candidate protection detail gone wrong, this one is a serial killer whodunit. If I drew a chart to illustrate the plot, it would look something like this: gradient slope (for ongoing investigation), steep (and short)
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incline for perpetrator conjecture, only to have a sudden and just as steep a fall in perpetrator elimination; a few of these spikes, and it gets rather old. For that 2 stars. In the spirit of generosity, I'd throw in another half a star for who it actually turned out to be because I didn't see that coming.
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LibraryThing member Stahl-Ricco
I enjoyed the setup for this book - a killer imitating famous serial killers. But after a bit, that idea seemed to get left out as a Peyton Place story thread took over. Not as interesting to me, to say the least. Still, I was entertained, so no real complaints!
LibraryThing member buffalogr
This book was OK...but, I skipped large parts looking for something interesting. The characters seemed kinda flat. The plot was endless. Although it was of average length, the author could probably chop a lot from it and still it would be just average.
LibraryThing member lewilliams
To many characters, plots& subplots that are confusing and muddled to keep track of. Same with the motives.
LibraryThing member Andrew-theQM
Overall this was a very enjoyable book. I enjoyed the style and feel of the book, I just feel it was a touch long to keep up the suspense and tension throughout. There was a big list of characters and the interactions with them were very intriguing and interesting. In some sense I just feel there
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was too much going on. That said it was a very enjoyable read that I would recommend to others, but I can see why some others don't take to it. Unusually I worked out the culprits on this one and quite early on. If you haven't given David Baldacci a try I would certainly recommend him.
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New York : Warner Books, c2004.

Original publication date





0446531081 / 9780446531085


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