Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Sixth Man



By Diane Bostick

Author: David Baldacci

Published by Grand Central Publishing 2011.

When each of us goes to the polls in the fall of the year we imagine that we have done due diligence in selecting the perfect candidate for the job of overseeing our lives from the pedestal of the Capital. But in David Baldacci’s world there are no guarantees that we have come even close to being successful. Nobody is safe in the world of Baldacci. Anyone from the President of the United States down to the janitor sweeping out the store room at 3 o’clock in the morning could be the bad guy. And just when you think you have it all figured out along comes a new twist that makes you doubt your ability to analyze who is good and who is evil. Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief…. in his books each is capable of being on either side of law.

In The Sixth Man we see Baldacci’s imagination at work in the Department of Homeland Security. Peter Bunting is the contractor who heads the new “E-Program.” This program brings in every bit of knowledge from our world-wide intelligence network and projects it on a 6 x 8 foot screen where an analyst constantly views it, filters it and makes conclusions as to what effect this information has on our safety in the United States. Obviously this is not a job for any normal human being and can only be done by someone with an eidetic (photographic) memory. Edgar Roy is the man who had been chosen for that job but he is now being held in a Federal maximum security prison charged with being a serial killer. He has been determined to be too mentally unstable to stand trial. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, formerly of the Secret Service, now P.I.s, as “the good guys” (I promise!) have been hired by Roy’s defense lawyer, Ted Bergin, to investigate the murders and Roy’s mental state. Their job becomes immediately more difficult when they arrive in Maine where they were to meet with Bergin and find that he has been murdered. When King and Maxwell go to the prison to interview the man they were to investigate they find him in an almost catatonic state. They are unable to get him to respond to them in any way which obviously is going to make investigating the case even more difficult. The only other person they can immediately ask questions of concerning the case is Bergin’s associate, a young lady just recently out of school with no legal experience and almost no knowledge at all of this particular case. She seems eager and willing to help but extremely nervous about being involved with this case where her boss has just been murdered. In this novel hardly anyone is whom they seem to be at first glance. People in very high places in our government are involved at all levels of the “E-Program” and, as usual in this type of story; each is heavily invested in protecting their own turf, no matter the consequences to others.

The Sixth Man is Baldacci’s 5th in a series with Sean King and Michelle Maxwell as protagonists but in this one they have become something more than co-workers

The author has had 15 of his books climb the list to #1 and has over 110 million books in print worldwide.

Diane Bostick has lived on Marco Island since 1987.  She was the Founder and President of Ft. Myers chapter of the Association of Children with Learning Disabilities, President of Jr. Welfare League, Ft. Myers Chapter, and served on the board of Art League of Marco Island. She is an avid reader, fly fisherwoman, tennis player and crafter.

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