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The Sixth Man    by David Baldacci order for
Sixth Man
by David Baldacci
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Lawyer Ted Bergin hires PIs, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, to investigate on behalf of his client, Eddie Roy. Roy is accused of murdering six men and burying them in his barn. He is imprisoned at Cutter's Rock, a maximum security institute for the criminally insane located in Maine. Although the crime was horrendous, King and Maxwell don't understand why he is in a federal facility and why the FBI is involved.

When they arrive in Maine, they find their employer on the side of the road with a bullet in his head. FBI agents take over the investigation before the body is even removed from the car, and refuse to explain why. Their demands for information from Sean and Michelle about Eddie Roy border on threatening.

Although the couple was hired to investigate Roy, finding out who murdered Bergin (Sean's mentor when he attended law school) takes priority. It soon becomes apparent that Bergin was killed because he was representing Roy, a government employee who worked for the IRS. Every attempt to get information about the case, Eddie Roy, his job, or who hired Bergin is met with resistance.

They finally trace Roy's employment to an independent contractor working for Home Security rather than the IRS as they'd been told. The alphabet soup of US intelligence agencies and their contractors have no reason to frame Roy for murder, but they've spent a great deal of resources and energy doing just that. The competition between government agencies results in smokescreens at every step of the investigation.

The plot is full of twists and turns, with action on almost every page. Although this thriller is not character driven, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are likable and their past history is interesting, making them a couple we'd like to see again. Fortunately, there are other books in this series.

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