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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced, suspence packed yet believable.
I am thrilled to have come across this book. It relates the story of a normal everyday American couple and their little girl who get entangled in a corrupt conspiracy. The terrific character and plot development make it utterly believable and full of suspence. It is an excellent read.
Published on 20 Sept. 2002 by reader

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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT THE BEST BALDACCI
David Baldacci has written several fine thrillers including "Last Man Standing" and "Absolute Power". "Total Control" has several of the same features, notably a complex plot whose contours only become clear as the reader moves further into the book. Unfortunately, the writing just isn't as sharp as in Baldacci's better works. In particular, the characters are less...
Published on 13 Sept. 2008 by 100wordreviewer


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Masterpiece From Mr Baldacci, 14 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Total Control (Paperback)
Initially I found this book a bit hard going, but after the first chapter the action never stops for one moment. I for one could not put it down. The story is typical of David Baldacci's style - drama, intrigue, (mild) terror with well rounded characters and a good plot. On the downside I found that there were just a few too many convenient coincidences and because the book originally came out in 1996, the explanations of computer technology are now slightly dated and redundant. Nevertheless it is a very good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baldacci at his best, 1 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Total Control (Kindle Edition)
'Total Control' starts with a multiplicity of opening scenes but as one would expect of this skilled author the treads intertwine, follow blind alleys, switch suspects but give you the 'gut feelings' of committed crime book readers to test your instincts again the evidence of the text. This is a really good read with credibility within characters and technology although sometimes futuristic for its era. I had to get up early to finish and confirm my hopes, anticipations and growing excitement of who did what in this complex commercially and financially based thriller.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars sad, 29 July 2013
This review is from: Total Control (Paperback)
I have read a few of Baldacchi's books, this one came as a great disappointment.
By page 80 I was sick and tired of the female lead, I mean how many times do you have to be told that the bimbo is beautiful, intelligent, upwardly mobile etc etc. By Page 250 I was starting to speed read and by 400 or so I had given up. Far far too much plodding detail, far too many characters, to the extent that time is wasted trying to figure out whether this individual is good, bad or irrelevant, usually the latter as it turns out, but by then you really don't care anyway.
I am afraid that even if 200 pages had been taken out of it this would still be a turkey. Lawyers, like used car salesman,and real estate agents,do not make good, good guys, this monotonous tome proves that at least.
Save your money.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This One is a Real Thriller, 18 Sept. 2007
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Total Control (Hardcover)
David Baldacci attended law school at the University of Virginia, and went on to work as a trial lawyer, and later as a corporate lawyer, in Washington, D.C. He is now a full-time writer whose best selling novels include Absolute Power, The Winner, The Simple Truth and Saving Faith. He lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.

David Baldacci is now at the forefront of the current crop of thriller writers and in my book certainly deserves to be there. His storylines are thoughtful and his characters well rounded and totally believeable. He writes consistently well, something that not all authors achieve. Many having peaks and troughs in their writing careers. Some in fact having only one good book in them. Not so with David Baldacci, whose books always sell well and never (as far as I am concerned) disappoint.

This book revolves around a young executive who is about to disappear, leaving behind a wife who has the unenviable job of sorting out the lies he has told from the truth. An air investigation squad would like to know why the plane he was in suddenly dropped from the sky. The startling truth behind his disappearance raises all sorts of issues, not least a plot to murder the country's most powerful individual . . .
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cliched, hackneyed, yawn inducing pot boiler., 20 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Total Control (Paperback)
This book is just like any other John Grisham or Patricia Cornball pot boiler. It is pulp fiction of the lowest order. All the characters are cardboard cut-outs: the FBI are big, tough guys who wear sunglasses in the dark and indoors; CEOs fly around in Lear Jets killing people; lawyers also fly around in Lear Jets and act unlike any lawyer in history; and assassins kill expertly until it comes to the heroine who they just can't seem to kill (mmm, wonder why).
Baldacci is one of those authors who has clearly done a lot of research, but he feels he needs to include all this research into the novel, even if it is boring, trite and unnecessary - which it always is. As an example we are treated to pages and pages of boring guff about the Federal Bank and how it effectively controls the lifes of all Americans. It is just a longwinded section of exposition that gets us nowhere. Even worse is the long explanation about how computers give off radiation and how images on monitors are made up of pixels. Wow! And this is all introduced at a time when the heroine is desperate to download some info from a disc and does not need to have this explained, so why the pages of exposition? I can only think it's to slow down the already turgid narrative and to pad out the book further.
The ending is also one long stream of exposition as our macho FBI agent tells us the reader, via one of the baddies, the whole convoluted plot. It takes pages and pages to spell out the plot I had been trying to follow.
...I couldn't really care about any of the characters in this as they were so paper thin - the FBI hero, Lee Sawyer, is so cliched even down to the sleeping problems, divorced wife, children who hate him, dark sunglasses worn at night, etc etc etc. Yawn!
I also objected to the way the husband character disappears from the story never to be mentioned again apart from when his death is raised at the end.
Check out the review at amazon.com which comments on the inconsistencies of Baldacci's writing, like the aircrash investigator who can't recognise a friend standing 2 feet from him, it's hilarious and so true.
If this was to be made into a film it wouldn't break new ground, it would be just as bog-standard as all the other mainstream Hollywood thrillers based on books like The Firm and The Pelican Brief. Let's hope it never sees the light of day.
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37 of 48 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 16 Year Old Suddenly Writes Book, Makes Millions!, 11 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Total Control (Paperback)
The main female character in Total Control, Sidney, is a senior partner in a major law firm but spends most of the book acting like a 14 year old. If another partner speaks to her in a way she doesn't like, she gives them a cold look and doesn't "grace them" with a response. Sidney would have trouble holding down a job as a receptionist, much less a senior partner. If Baldacci had made her smack her gum a few more times, she could easily have gone undercover in a junior high school.
Baldacci has Inspector Clousseau's eye for detail. In one early scene on page 85, two characters meet at the site of an airplane crash, and Baldacci sets a new record for cramming the most inconsistencies into a single paragraph. Baldacci describes the daylight as "rapidly failing," but Lee Sawyer shows up wearing sunglasses, perhaps because in Baldacci's junior-high world on-duty cops are required to wear sunglasses at all times. George Kaplan "freezes" when he sees Sawyer then squints to try to make out who that person is a "bare five feet away." I can usually identify people from 5 feet away, but then again, I don't squint to see in the dark; I open my eyes wider. When Sawyer steps forward, Kaplan is able to identify him--from about two feet away by my reckoning--which is probably pretty good for someone who's squinting in the dark.
Baldacci attended the Archie Bunker school of word choice, and selects his words more for what they sound like than what they mean. He has characters "alight into" a car. (You can't alight "into" a car; you can only alight "out of" a car.) Kaplan squints in the "rapidly failing" light. "Failing?" How about "fading?" On page 378 (which is almost as dense with hilarious inconsistencies as page 85), Baldacci reports that "a twitch erupted over Sidney's left eye." A twitch can't erupt. A twitch is minor. A "spasm" could erupt. How about just writing "Her left eyelid twitched?" Later, "Sidney struggled mightily not to perceptibly wince at the remark." Aside from the split infinitive, I think it would be as easy to notice a woman "struggling mightily" as to notice her wincing "perceptibly." Still further down the page, "Sidney felt herself trembling." What's does Baldacci mean by that? Did she reach out with one hand and feel the other hand trembling, or did she "notice" rather than "feel" that she was trembling? Throughout the book, most things happen "suddenly" as in "Steve suddenly criticized Baldacci's book on amazon.com."
The book is written almost exclusively in the passive voice. The sentence construction is truly impressive in that you would never think it was possible to twist certain words into a passive formation: "Sidney's legs were put by her into the front of the car." Weird things happen with people's legs throughout the book. Lee Sawyer walks on "telephone pole size legs" (presumably Baldacci is referring to thickness, not length). In one scene, Baldacci says "Sidney's legs began walking down the street." (We never learn where the rest of her went in that particular scene.)
This book requires the reader to suspend his or her disbelief, and in that it excels. You will be able to practice suspending your disbelief in laws of physics, human nature, business practices, legal procedings, police procedure, modern computing, and virtually every other topic Baldacci addresses.
After reading the first 10 pages, I was surprised that the book had been published at all. After the first 50, I kept reading for the amusement of seeing characters that were so silly and a plot that was so contrived -- and because other people on the airplane had taken all the more literary reading material, such as Seventeen and Tiger Beat magazines.
After 250 pages, I squinted my eyes and suddenly became convinced that Baldacci was 15 or 16 years old. The author changes voice and tense frequently, but mostly writes in third person omniscient. Readers are given full access to every thought every character in the book has for the duration of the adventure, and most of those are at the junior high level. If you read the book as a description of junior high school students role playing attorneys, FBI agents, computer programmers, and so on, it actually makes a lot of sense. Reinforcing my guess, Baldacci's word choices are mostly at about the 5th grade level, but every 3 or 4 pages he throws in a word like "brook," as in "Sidney's telephone-pole sized legs would brook no thought of walking down the street." I concluded that Baldacci was studying for the SAT as he wrote this book and worked in a lot of the words from his SAT study guide.
I didn't make it all the way to the ending, but I imagine it ends something like this:
Sidney's eyelids were made to coolly squint at the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. "Miranda Shmiranda," she extemporized. Her hand suddenly slapped the Chief Justice on the lower left side of his cheek. The Chief Justice immediately froze and winked with pain. "That will show him to deny my appeal," she thought to herself, smacking her gum as her legs walked down Wall Street and off into the sunset.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good but a little dated., 14 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Total Control (Kindle Edition)
I read this book only recently, in 2015. The slant of the plot, based as it is in the tech of the '90's, seems very old hat. It was quaint to read of what was expected of technology in the future.

However, the plot was fast paced and twisted. I twice decided I knew the bad guy only to be proved wrong. The end is a little far fetched but finishes everything neatly.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too lengthy, 13 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Total Control (Kindle Edition)
A reasonable read but far too long. Highly improbable storyline. Not saying people with power such as this are beyond their dalliances, but mass murder!!!!?
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5.0 out of 5 stars ... not read a book by David Baldacci and been disappointed. This lived up to my expections, 15 July 2014
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This review is from: Total Control (Kindle Edition)
I have not read a book by David Baldacci and been disappointed. This lived up to my expections. He never fails to keep you guessing right to the very end. I will endeavour to read all of his books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't stop for breath, 15 July 2014
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This review is from: Total Control (Kindle Edition)
Great book, fast pace, somewhat unbelievable at times. But couldn't put it down. Would really recommend this author to friends.
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Total Control
Total Control by David Baldacci (School & Library Binding - Oct. 1999)
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