"A three-hour drive from Washington, D.C., two clandestine institutions face each other across a heavily guarded river. One is the world's most unusual laboratory, whose goals and funding are a mystery. The other is an elite CIA training camp shrouded in secrecy. Now a man and a woman are about to run a gauntlet between these two puzzle factories, straight into a furious struggle to exploit a potentially world-shattering discovery - and keep some other secrets under wraps forever." "Former Secret Service agents turned private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell have seen their lives splintered around them. Michelle lies unconscious in a hospital bed after a night of suicidal violence. And Sean is forced to take on a thankless investigation into the murder of a scientist just inside the CIA's razor-wire fence near Williamsburg, Virginia." "Soon he is uncovering layer after layer of disinformation that shields a stunning world filled with elite mathematicians, physicists, war heroes, spies, and deadly field agents. Amid more murder, a seemingly autistic girl's extraordinary genius, and a powerful breakthrough in the realm of classified codes, Sean soon learns enough to put his life at risk. Now more than ever, he needs Michelle - at her best - to help stop a conspiracy of traitors operating in the shadow of the White House itself."--BOOK JACKET.
Baldacci does a good job of keeping the plot moving along. While the ultimate cause of the conspiracies traced in the book may be a little far-fetched, Baldacci sets up the books' events in such a way that everything makes sense. His characters are a bit more in-depth and realistic than many in this genre. We learn a lot about many of the characters and their motivations, especially Michelle. Overall, a quick and enjoyable read.
David Baldacci weaves a complex story of intrigue with likable characters, to pull the reader though the intrigue of Washington back door politics, the CIA, questionable interrogation tactics, quantum computers, the history of Camp Peary; an unacknowledged CIA property, and psychological mysteries of the personal kind.
While the book is fiction, David Baldacci uses some interesting references to real people. Charles Babbage (a name also popping up in the movies “Rain Man” and “National Treasure”) is considered the father of the programmable computer. Alan Turing was a code breaker working in Bletchley Park and a genetic predecessor of the fictional Monk Turing. David Baldacci creates Champ Pollion, director of Babbage Town from real life Jean-Francois Champollion, a French linguist who worked on deciphering Egyptian codes. The Beale Cipher is an unsolved code believed to reveal an 1800’s buried treasure. The idea for Simple Genius originated from the Beale Cipher mystery.
The book follows Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, two former secret service agents who get hired to investigate the mysterious death of a worker at a even more mysterious company. While Sean investigates the original death, the body was found on a nearby CIA training base, Michelle struggles to deal with her inner demons and tries to join up with Sean to help him.
Overall, a pretty good book for a pulp fiction mystery. I'll admit that the twist ending (and there always is a twist) took me by surprise. Not an intellectually stimulating book or one that will win any awards, but a good read none the less.
I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend this book, but it's not a terrible read. Baldacci has done much better work.
reads like run of the mill popular fiction
light summer reading
The bottom line of this novel is that it is ridiculous in so many ways. There are government conspiracies out the wazoo, each one more nonsensical that the previous one. I didn't find either of the main characters to be remotely compelling. There is a certain level of dramatic tension involved in the novel, which worked fairly well. I also liked the concept behind Babbage Town, the high tech think tank. But so much of the execution of the novel was flawed. This is one that I would recommend skipping.
Carl Alves - author of Blood Street
In a world of secrets, human genius is power.
And sometimes it is simply deadly...
A three-hour drive from Washington, D.C., two clandestine institutions face each other across a heavily guarded river. One is the world's most unusual laboratory, whose goals and funding are a mystery. The other is an elite CIA training camp shrouded in secrecy. Now a man and a woman are about to run a gauntlet between these two puzzle factories, straight into a furious struggle to exploit a potentially world-shattering discovery--and keep some other secrets underwraps forever...
King and Maxwell are a dynamic, interesting pair. Not sure I'm crazy about Maxwell, but at least she's compelling. King is solid, got-your-back, dependable if not brilliant private eye. He provides a good foil for Maxwell's erratic, emotional persona.
If you're a Baldacci fan, or a thriller fan, you'll enjoy this book. Highly recommended.
In a world of secrets, human genius is power.
And sometimes it is simply deadly . . .
Near Washington, D.C., there are two clandestine institutions: the world's most unusual laboratory and a secret CIA training camp. Drawn to these sites by a murder, ex-Secret Service agent Sean King encounters a dark world of mathematicians, codes, and spies. His search for answers soon leads him to more shocking violence-and an autistic girl with an extraordinary genius.
Now, only by working with his embattled partner, Michelle Maxwell, can he catch a killer...and solve a stunning mystery that threatens the entire nation.
I enjoy reading about Michelle Maxwell and Sean King's relationship and adventures. This book was very good but a little slow in some parts but picked up towards the end. It was a fun read trying to figure out exactly what was going on behind the gates at Camp Peary. Figuring out who was good and who was bad also added to the plot and kept me guessing until the very end. I will definitely continue reading the series and I do look forward to the next installment and what will be happening with Michelle and Sean. I would highly recommend this series to those who love mystery and adventure mixed in with a little romance.