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Simple Genius

(Sean King & Michelle Maxwell #3)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  40,212 ratings  ·  1,920 reviews
In a world of secrets, human genius is power.
And sometimes it is simply deadly...
A three-hour drive from Washington, D.C., two clandestine institutions face each other across a heavily guarded river. One is the world's most unusual laboratory, whose goals and funding are a mystery. The other is an elite CIA training camp shrouded in secrecy. Now a man and a woman are abo
Hardcover, 420 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Warner Books
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Popular Answered Questions
Robin J Baldacci has several series. In this one, I think you will certainly understand it better if you start at the beginning.
Sanae No, they have not reveal that, yet. At the end of Simple Genius, you will find out. I wouldn't say she was in love with serial killer, she just liked …moreNo, they have not reveal that, yet. At the end of Simple Genius, you will find out. I wouldn't say she was in love with serial killer, she just liked him.Just like Sean liked the doctor in town.She was also a killer.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  40,212 ratings  ·  1,920 reviews

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Start your review of Simple Genius (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #3)
I am disappointed

Everything I loved and enjoyed from the first two books were GONE. Here, Sean and Michelle were 'separated' for the better of the first half of the book. Michelle suffered from breakdown, showing suicidal tendency, picked up a fight and being beaten, and must checked herself voluntarily (with Sean's insistence) for treatment. Meanwhile Sean was "forced" to get a job from his ex, Joan Dillinger, to investigate a death of a physicist at quasi–think tank place, Babbage Town.

Book 3 in the Maxwell and King series published 2007

3.5 stars just a bit too long.

I always start out really enjoying David Baldacci’s book but then the verbal detritus creeps in and my enjoyment starts to wain.
Also, whilst I understand that this is fiction and for the most part real life is no where to be seen there still needs, for me, to be a sense of the possible even if it still looks improbable. Unfortunately that was missing here.

The book starts with Michelle have a psychological melt down
Nov 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
I just hated this book. The story was implausable and the subplots were so poorly constructed. Halfway through the book, I would have rated it as ok but the last 30 pages were just idiotic.
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-series
Typically, there's a reason you should read a series in order. In the case of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, it should be followed. While the main stories are separate, the relationship between Sean and Michelle and the internal battles they battle are revealed and dealt with in order.

"Simple Genius" is a great thriller. It brings together current research, historical information with well-developed characters. Once again Baldacci employs a strong storyline with several twists to keep the read
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, suspense
Private Investigator Sean King has been hired to look into the death of Monk Turing, a physicist whose body was found at a secret CIA Training Camp. Was it suicide or murder? Monk worked at a laboratory named Babbage Town, a private facility across the York River from the training camp. Sean moves into Babbage Town to interview Monk's co-workers and learn what he was working on before his death. With the help of his partner, Michelle Maxwell, Sean needs to uncover the truth of what is happening ...more
kartik narayanan
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Simple Genius has moments of greatness and moments of dumbfuckery. I loved the protagonists' character arcs as well the new character. There are three threads running for about two-thirds of the book and until these were relatively separate, they were enjoyable. After they come together, the whole is not simply that enjoyable and the book becomes less likable. What I loathed were the clumsy call outs to cryptanalysts and mathematicians of ages past. Baldacci could have just put 'normal' names an ...more
Brenda H
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simple Genius is the third book in the King and Maxwell series by David Baldacci. This book picks up where we left off with the main characters, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell in Book 2, Hour Game. Michelle is struggling with her confidence and self-control after the events in the last book. Sean is trying to help her overcome her issues.

While dealing with Michelle, Sean takes a job with his ex-lover, Joan, to investigate a questionable suicide at a Washington DC Area research laboratory (Babbag
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Just horrible. Horrible dialogue. The one-liners of King are getting very old. As is his finding out clues but not sharing with his partner. The only thing worse than the cliches of angry FBI agent and bumbling local law enforcement was what Baldacci did to Michelle Maxwell's character. I read several reviews of the previous King and Maxwell book (The Hour Game) where many (including me) were critical that there was no character development for Michelle Maxwell. So this time he really beefs up t ...more
Jan 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it.

The prose is abysmal - clunky and ill-formed, repetitive and childlike - and the mechanics are just...awful. We don't need to be reminded of the characters' surnames every other paragraph. You really can use words that have more than one syllable, and sentences that exhibit some actual structure. Really, it's okay.

And I couldn't even begin to get into the plot. It started telegraphing itself very, very quickly - damaged operative! romantic tension! high-te
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Just wow! This novel engaged me on multiple levels. I loved the variety of components that made up this novel. Suspense, action, intrigue, and science all make their way into it. Baldacci’s intricate writing really enticed me. Not only was I caught up in the action of the tale, I was also trying to unravel the mystery and was completely smitten with the science.

The characters were fantastic. Even though this isn’t the first novel of the series, Baldacci develops his man characters in such a
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crimethriller
Kept me entertained for a day. I like the fact that Maxwell and King haven't leapt into bed together, that they aren't perfect and yet they still come out on top.
The books are plot driven, it's what keeps you reading the series. Have to see if the library has the next in the series tomorrow morning.
Carol  Jones-Campbell
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
In a world of secrets, human genius is power. Sometimes it is simply deadly. Near Washington, D.C., there are two clandestine institutions: the world's most unusual laboratory and a secret CIA training camp. Drawn to these sites by a murder, ex-Secret Service Agent Sean King encounters a dark world of mathematicians, codes, and spies. His search for answers soon leads him to more shocking violence-and an autistic girl with an extraordinary genious. Now only by working with his embattled partner, ...more
Avian Sharma
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
"It's too dangerous."

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are back in a fresh case and this time it's in simple genius a masterpiece where both King and Maxwell are taken to the wire when trying to solve the death of Monk Turning.
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love Sean and Michelle. A very good team together. Highly recommend
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016, 500-series
I enjoy reading about Michelle Maxwell and Sean King's relationship and adventures. This book was very good but a little slow in some parts but picked up towards the end. It was a fun read trying to figure out exactly what was going on behind the gates at Camp Peary. Figuring out who was good and who was bad also added to the plot and kept me guessing until the very end. I will definitely continue reading the series and I do look forward to the next installment and what will be happening with Mi ...more
Sean King and Michelle Maxwell book No.3:
The ex-Secret Service pair return in another David Baldacci masterclass in crime thriller writing. The Enigma Code, child psychology, CIA, FBI, personal relationships, computer nerds, semi-autism, and a lot more are the ingredients that Baldacci puts together, to yet again create a genuine page-turner of a thriller. The characterisations of King and Maxwell and the way they interact are one of the most believable and consistent amongst the numerous 'budd
Dec 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that happened! This book is a real disappointment when compared the last two books. Maxwell suffers from a mental breakdown and to say we did not see it coming is an understatement. It felt like a total departure for the character that we know. It also felt that any chance to hint at something more coming between King and Maxwell was taken and I am honestly not sure how I feel out that.

That being said the story was to the usual standard and I really enjoyed it as it unfolded. Baldacci can s
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thrillers
2.5 Promising beginning but fizzled for me.
Jeff Dickison
May 08, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good King & Maxwell tale. Like most of Baldacci's books it is full of action, fast moving and completely implausible. I love them. In this one Maxwell must overcome mental problems while Sean investigates a colony of brainiacs. Recommended to Baldacci fans. ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Simple Genius takes place not long after the events of Hour Game. Michelle Maxwell is spending some time voluntarily in a Rehab Institution, after beating up a random street-punk in a Bar, realizing she's on edge, decides to get some help, and in this entry, we learn more about Michelle's dark past. While Michelle is in Rehab, Sean King is on a mission of his own, he is called to investigate a murder that took place at a top-secret CIA Training Camp and laboratory installation known as Babbage T ...more
Nancy Bandusky
This novel spends a great deal of time not being suspenseful. The King/Maxwell duo are separated due to Maxwell's mental issues. While she deals (?) with those King heads off to handle the case that Maxwell eventually shows up for after she is cured (?) and solves her own somewhat irrelevant case.

Despite the fact these two characters are former secret service agents and now run their own investigative firm, they seem to have a need to trust the wrong people - which of course puts them in more da
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is my second Baldacci novel. I read "Saving Faith" a few years ago. I can't say I loved this one. I'm a big fan of suspense and this one really dragged through the middle. I loved the characters so I pressed on, but the ending was sloppy and unsatisfying. The topic of quantum physics was absolutely of NO interest to me. I also have a hard time with the way Baldacci writes women; they're always described by their attractiveness and desire- apparently the only two things that matter and make ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Interesting book. There are facets of it that are not my "favorite motif" for telling a story (emotional angst and extended emotional struggles tied in with the threads of the story). Still this/these will probably be the parts of the book that some other readers like best.

Here a murder takes place on a shadowy government reservation. The victim has climbed onto the grounds of what turns out to be a CIA facility and ...apparently...killed himself. Though there is apparently someone who thinks it
Emilie Haney
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My rating: 4.5*

I definitely enjoyed this book but...without spoiling anything (hopefully), I felt as if the premise for this book was a little...surprising to me. With the aspects that involve Michelle I found myself shocked and feeling as if they came "out of the blue" in some respects. I enjoyed the whole play-out of the story, as I always do with Baldacci, but I couldn't help but wonder how much Baldacci knew about her past and if he'd woven that in or if it kind of "came" to him for this thi
Dec 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-crime
Well, I thought I'd give a David Baldacci book another go as I managed to get this and The Bourne Sanction on a fairly cheap deal at a second hand bookstore. I missed Hour Game as they didn't have it in stock, but I'll probably have to go back and read that at some point because although Baldacci's books may not always be the best they're still, decent reads that you'll get through quickly. Sadly like with the first King & Maxwell there wasn't anything too great about this book but at the same t ...more
Apr 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook


Another successful read by David Baldacci. When I'm in the mood for an assassin/military/investigation type read, David Baldacci is my go-to author. His writting is always solid and I know I will get an enjoyable read. His Will Robie series is my favorite, but I haven't not liked a book by him yet.
Tammy Schoen
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Amazing!! Fast paced...and more than one story line made this an engrossing read. I liked how Baldacci combined looking into one mind... As well as probing many.

I even attempted to keep up with all of the cyphering and NUMBERS!!

I think this is my favorite Baldacci so far. I will certainly read more!!
Apr 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
I did not care for this in the least. Baldacci has written much better and he used much of the exact opening in The Hour Game. 2 of 10 stars
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Old reviews went missing. How does save not working?

Great series; I enjoy the King and Maxwell but this is probably not my favorite book in the series.
Enjoying the King Maxwell series Simple Genius
took us in to our two agents lives .
and it was worth while
It worked for me
looking forward to start No4#
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2015 Reading Chal...: Simple Genius by David Baldacci 1 10 May 04, 2015 01:56PM  
characters 6 80 Feb 18, 2013 07:54PM  

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David Baldacci has been writing since childhood, when his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories. (Much later, when David thanked her for being the spark that ignited his writing career, she revealed that she’d given him the notebook to keep him quiet, "because every mom needs a break now and then.”)

David published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996; the feature

Other books in the series

Sean King & Michelle Maxwell (6 books)
  • Split Second (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #1)
  • Hour Game (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #2)
  • First Family (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #4)
  • The Sixth Man (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #5)
  • King and Maxwell (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #6)

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