Sixth Man

Title:                  The Sixth Man

Author:                 David Baldacci

Balcacci, David (2011). The Sixth Man. New York: Grand Central Pub

LCCN:    2011456751

PS3552.A446 S59 2011b



  • A sequel to the author’s First family.

Date Updated:  May 6, 2015

Baldacci presents the deranged, jealous and greedy side of the American intelligence gathering community in this new novel The Sixth Man. Secret Service agents turned private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are forced to pry the lids off these secretive organizations to solve a homicide. A friend, an old attorney, is killed in rural Maine while defending an accused serial murderer — and the duo pledge to see the case through as bodies pile up in the wake of forces unknown attempting to thwart their investigation.

They stumble onto something big — the fight over a new freakishly fast information processor that fundamentally changes the face of national security — to the dismay of longtime intelligence power brokers. Added to the story is a type savant caught in the middle.

That’s the gist.

Mercenaries, patriots and profiteers mix with old-fashion detective work and some cool spy stuff to provide enough intrigue and action to flip the last page. However, a rash of clichéd one-upmanship dialogue between government agents is not very convincing.

Michelle Maxwell is memorable for her ability to drop multiple men in physical combat in mere seconds. The carnage is reminiscent of a Steven Seagal flick. She’s an “estrogen-filled tornado who can shoot the pants off most of the premier snipers in the military.” Sean King, an attorney, favors a more cautious approach. Both awkwardly suppress a romantic relationship with bad humor and deference to the job at hand. Cat and mouse games and a few unexpected revelations provide an entertaining read. And the challenge of getting competing intelligence agencies to work together is a relevant topic. After reading the Baldacci dramatization, the little that is known on the subject becomes more striking.