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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining thrills
This is the first Baldacci book I've read and I'll now go back and read others, including the previous Sean and Michelle books (plus I hope there'll be another). I found the book a fun, thrilling and fast read with enough background research to provide added interest (hadn't heard of quantum computers). OK, so at times it felt quickly written and could have done with a...
Published on 7 April 2008 by Mrs. Lewis

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How the mighty can fall....
This is the second Baldacci I've read recently and the deterioration in the quality of his writing over time is now very noticeable.

In this effort, which brings back former agents Sean and Michelle, now acting privately, he also introduces an unbelievably wild plot, albeit delivered with quite a lot of pace. But that's about it.

Coincidence upon...
Published on 23 May 2008 by johnverp


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining thrills, 7 April 2008
This review is from: Simple Genius (Paperback)
This is the first Baldacci book I've read and I'll now go back and read others, including the previous Sean and Michelle books (plus I hope there'll be another). I found the book a fun, thrilling and fast read with enough background research to provide added interest (hadn't heard of quantum computers). OK, so at times it felt quickly written and could have done with a little more depth, but I still found the book very enjoyable and I'm surprised at the negative reviews.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Code Enthusiast's Thriller, 5 May 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
If you love books about secret codes, Simple Genius will be a book you'll long treasure. If you like thrillers that teem with action, sex scenes, obscure martial arts, and high-tech weaponry, this book will seem like a yawn.

As Mr. Baldacci warns you, don't read the Author's Note until after you finish the book. But don't miss that note if you read and like the book. It's a marvelous look into how the story was constructed.

What I found most delightful about Simple Genius was that the plot development kept surprising me. Sure, the general outlines are foreshadowed intentionally (so that you don't get lost in the maze of details), but the specifics shift unexpectedly. In fact, midway through the book, I literally jumped out of my chair with surprise when one change occurred involving the medical examiner.

Simple Genius is intellectually dense. You'll be exposed to more psychology, code breaking, quantum computers, and history than you would normally find in 20 thrillers combined. To Mr. Baldacci's credit, he keeps it as simple as possible without insulting your intelligence.

As the book opens, former Secret Service agents turned PIs, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell have hit bottom. They don't have any work, and Michelle picks a potentially lethal fight with the toughest guy she can find in the roughest bar in town. It takes the last of Sean's money, but he persuades Michelle to seek psychiatric help from an old friend, Dr. Horatio Barnes. Barnes quickly concludes that Michelle is punishing herself, but for what?

Desperate to keep Michelle in treatment, Sean calls his former love and begs for a job. He gets the job, on the condition that Michelle is kept away.

Sean is to find out why Monk Turing, a scientist, appears to have committed suicide inside the CIA's highly classified facility informally referred to as the Farm. The scientist had worked at a very secretive installation cross the river from the Farm. No one wants to tell Sean anything. He cannot even find out who his clients are.

Sean's heart is deeply touched by Viggie, the 11-year-old daughter of the scientist, a mathematical genius whose emotional and social development is retarded.

Sean finds he cannot make much progress until Michelle releases herself from the mental hospital. But can either of them count on her mental stability? Michelle finds herself in the unexpected nurturing role for Viggie.

Michelle is by far the most interesting character in the book. She's super human physically and intensely flawed psychologically at the same time, reminding me of the myth of Achilles. I found in her a metaphor for the modern world with its ability to do increasingly great things materially while becoming ever more spiritually and psychologically barren.

In addition to enjoying the thriller, you'll find this book will also leave you with lots of food for thought.

Enjoy!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Code Enthusiast's Thriller, 5 May 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
If you love books about secret codes, Simple Genius will be a book you'll long treasure. If you like thrillers that teem with action, sex scenes, obscure martial arts, and high-tech weaponry, this book will seem like a yawn.

As Mr. Baldacci warns you, don't read the Author's Note until after you finish the book. But don't miss that note if you read and like the book. It's a marvelous look into how the story was constructed.

What I found most delightful about Simple Genius was that the plot development kept surprising me. Sure, the general outlines are foreshadowed intentionally (so that you don't get lost in the maze of details), but the specifics shift unexpectedly. In fact, midway through the book, I literally jumped out of my chair with surprise when one change occurred involving the medical examiner.

Simple Genius is intellectually dense. You'll be exposed to more psychology, code breaking, quantum computers, and history than you would normally find in 20 thrillers combined. To Mr. Baldacci's credit, he keeps it as simple as possible without insulting your intelligence.

As the book opens, former Secret Service agents turned PIs, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell have hit bottom. They don't have any work, and Michelle picks a potentially lethal fight with the toughest guy she can find in the roughest bar in town. It takes the last of Sean's money, but he persuades Michelle to seek psychiatric help from an old friend, Dr. Horatio Barnes. Barnes quickly concludes that Michelle is punishing herself, but for what?

Desperate to keep Michelle in treatment, Sean calls his former love and begs for a job. He gets the job, on the condition that Michelle is kept away.

Sean is to find out why Monk Turing, a scientist, appears to have committed suicide inside the CIA's highly classified facility informally referred to as the Farm. The scientist had worked at a very secretive installation cross the river from the Farm. No one wants to tell Sean anything. He cannot even find out who his clients are.

Sean's heart is deeply touched by Viggie, the 11-year-old daughter of the scientist, a mathematical genius whose emotional and social development is retarded.

Sean finds he cannot make much progress until Michelle releases herself from the mental hospital. But can either of them count on her mental stability? Michelle finds herself in the unexpected nurturing role for Viggie.

Michelle is by far the most interesting character in the book. She's super human physically and intensely flawed psychologically at the same time, reminding me of the myth of Achilles. I found in her a metaphor for the modern world with its ability to do increasingly great things materially while becoming ever more spiritually and psychologically barren.

In addition to enjoying the thriller, you'll find this book will also leave you with lots of food for thought.

Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 3 Jan 2008
By 
Teemacs (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Simple Genius (Paperback)
This is the third outing for David Baldacci's private detective team of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, in which solving a case is complicated by the surfacing of Michelle's internal demons. One has to give the previous one-and two-star reviewers their due, there are indeed major implausibilities in the story, and there are places where the whole edifice starts to creak and groan noticeably. However, Baldacci is an outstanding story teller and in spite of these, I found myself carried along and really quite enjoyed the ride.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How the mighty can fall...., 23 May 2008
This review is from: Simple Genius (Paperback)
This is the second Baldacci I've read recently and the deterioration in the quality of his writing over time is now very noticeable.

In this effort, which brings back former agents Sean and Michelle, now acting privately, he also introduces an unbelievably wild plot, albeit delivered with quite a lot of pace. But that's about it.

Coincidence upon coincidence and just so many hard to believe components really killed this book for me. I kept going to the finish but I am sure my groans were quite audible in the end.

In short, in my view, Baldacci is no longer producing well-constructed tales written with flair.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Puerile Nonsense, 15 July 2007
This review is from: Simple Genius (Hardcover)
Having read the cover blurb and some of Baldacci's previous works I had high hopes of this one. How deluded can I get?. I soon found out that the plot is puerile and entirely predictable. In the first few chapters we encounter "Champ Pollion", Monk "Turing" and "Babbage" Town at which point I concluded that the only things missing so far were The Rosetta Stone, the Enigma machine and the Differential Engine. This book is clearly aimed at the intellectually challenged and those who may find the entirely predictable cast of characters vaguely believable. In my case the suspension of disbelief was way over the horizon. As usual nowadays we have to have the stereotypical uber-female in the form of Michelle, the Olympic super-fit martial arts expert who, we are led to imagine, can dump the chumps (males, inevitably) who oppose her with a hard stare or a flick of finger. Then we have dear old bumbling Sean, the plodding father-figure lawyer-type who has yet to bed his partner after working with her for years; I suppose this scenario is meant to create some sexual tension in an otherwise banal plot. I must admit I did not finish the book, by the time I was over half way through it I was so bored and irritated that I shredded it even though I had only purchased it the day before. Take my advice and give this one a miss.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars oh dear, 21 Dec 2007
By 
This review is from: Simple Genius (Paperback)
This unfortunate book has all the marks of being two pieces of written work, neither big enough to be a book in their own right being thrust together in same vain attempt to produce a viable publication. The main story is well enough written, but the 2nd essay inserted into the book is just that, the main story does not benefit from it, and it makes no impact nor interaction with the main story. Placing the end of the 2nd book at the end of the main tale only means the reader can ignore the last chapter completely
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Simple? - yes, genius? - if you've got a negative IQ, maybe., 1 Aug 2009
This review is from: Simple Genius (Paperback)
I enjoyed Baldacci's first books but this has got to be the worst book I've read in a long time. Usually I would give up if it doesn't cut it by 100 pages but for some reason, I just had to see it through to the end. Don't waste money buying it, don't waste time reading it. If this had been Baldacci's first novel, I doubt he would have found a publisher willing to back it. Just shows you that once you've carved out a name for yourself, you can literally print money.
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2.0 out of 5 stars One of Baldacci's more disappointing efforts, 18 Oct 2007
This review is from: Simple Genius (Hardcover)
It is rare to be disappointed by a David Baldacci book. Some of his efforts hit the spot more than others, but Simple Genius misses by as wide a mark as any of his previous books.

It is a shame, because protagonists Sean King and Michelle Maxwell proved likeable, if a little formulaic, in Split Second and Hour Game. However, their appeal wanes in this outing, as both have become too emotional and fragile, losing that strong edge that made them popular in the first place.

The plot is surprisingly loose for a Baldacci novel and some of the moments of action are nothing short of ludicrous. His style is still easy to read, but the book plods along at a much slower pace than we are used to from him.

The basic plot - mysterious deaths at a sinister CIA camp - is not bad, but it is just put together poorly and some of it feels like it cold have been stripped out completely.

Baldacci is a strong writer and the book is still easy to read. For first-time buyers of a Baldacci novel, I would look elsewhere, because this isn't a true indication of his ability. It's not an awful book, but you just feel a bit frustrated and empty by the end. I expect it's more of a blip than something likely to continue in his work though.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his best, 16 Jan 2008
By 
P. J. A. Jennings "pja_jennings" (Oxfordshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Simple Genius (Paperback)
David Baldacci writes jolly good thrillers, but in this one he seems to have been taking lessons from Dan Brown - "pick a technical subject and then get most of the details wrong, and whilst you are at it, make the plot unbelievable".

"Split Second" and "The Collectors" were much better books, read them instead.
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Simple Genius (King and Maxwell)
Simple Genius (King and Maxwell) by David Baldacci (Paperback - 7 Nov 2013)
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