The end of the King and Maxwell series

By Ande Jacobson

King and Maxwell is the sixth and final book in David Baldacci’s King & Maxwell series, and it doesn’t disappoint. The last three books of the series, First Family, The Sixth Man, and King and Maxwell are closely coupled, each picking up where the last one leaves off. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are looking to get back to a more normal, less life-threatening routine when they come upon a teenager running through the woods with a gun in a vicious storm. The boy, Tyler Wingo, is frantic. He’s been informed that his father, Sam Wingo, was killed in combat in Afghanistan. The trouble is that Sam Wingo is very much alive, and he’s a hunted man though it takes a while to determine that this is the case. After some negotiation and being threatened by various government and government adjacent thugs, King, Maxwell, their client Tyler Wingo, his father Sam, and a couple of innocent bystanders are in grave danger. No matter the risks, they aren’t deterred from their quest to clear Sam’s name and get him and Tyler to safety.

We met Edgar Roy in the previous book, The Sixth Man. King and Maxwell have stayed in touch with this remarkable, albeit quirky genius. His particular skills at hacking and correlating seemingly disparate, unrelated information are invaluable to their work, and Roy is more than happy to help them whenever he can despite occasionally putting his official job in jeopardy. Their banter is amusing and very telling. There’s mutual respect between Roy and the team, and he understands in his own way how much they appreciate him.

As the story unfolds, the reader learns of intrigue and corruption surrounding various international activities. Sam is caught in the middle of a massive conspiracy, and he’s determined to find out why. He loves his son, and he wants more than anything to protect him, yet his very survival puts his son in danger. It’s difficult for them both to know who to trust.

As usual, Baldacci’s plot builds in a frenzy of suspense and activity with several twists along the way. The ending is fitting, and he leaves the door open for more adventures should he decide to return to this series at a later date. We don’t know for sure how King and Maxwell will fare after this adventure, or how their personal relationship will evolve. For the time being, their partnership is strong and secure.

The state of the government and of the entities with whom they partner are kept in shadow, and as is often the case in a Baldacci story, the government is seriously dysfunctional. The story isn’t intended as anything but an adventure that is more than a little implausible but compelling nonetheless. Not all of the nuances are revealed even as the story eventually resolves. The details left hanging unresolved leave the reader wanting more from King, Maxwell, and Roy.

After King and Maxwell was published, there was a short-lived television series that relied primarily on the last three books as a foundation. The TV series kept the partnership intact and included Edgar Roy, complete with his backstory from The Sixth Man. The show just never got sufficient ratings to keep it running, and the episodes were a bit formulaic not unlike several very successful government-related adventure series that run to this day. Both Baldacci’s books and the TV series flirt with King and Maxwell complicating their lives with a romantic entanglement that never quite gets off the ground. In both mediums they are the best of friends once they get past their initial unease with one another, but they are more focused on their work and their professional partnership than on any potential romance. They’ve each had failed relationships in the past, and neither wants to lose the other as a friend, confidant, backup, and equal partner. They seem most alive when they are facing danger together.

The full King and Maxwell series includes:

  1. Split Second
  2. Hour Game
  3. Simple Genius
  4. First Family
  5. The Sixth Man
  6. King and Maxwell

While the series certainly has potential for numerous future cases should Baldacci bring it back someday, there are plenty of other Baldacci stories and series to enjoy, each involving unique partnerships and eccentricities.


References:
King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci
What happened to Edgar Roy?
The law applies to everyone, even the ‘First Family’
It only take a ‘Split Second’
Breaking the code
http://www.davidbaldacci.com/


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