Split Second

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 May, 2004, 12:00am

Split Second

by David Baldacci

Pan $101

The split second of Baldacci's title occurs in September 1996. Secret Service agent Sean King is a bodyguard for a presidential candidate. On the campaign trail, he's watching every move the crowd makes. But when he's distracted by a mysterious 'something', bang, the candidate is assassinated. Eight years later, another Secret Service agent, Michelle Maxwell, is guarding another White House hopeful when he's abducted. Michelle and Sean lose their jobs in disgrace but find each other. King's ex-girlfriend shows up to add a third corner to the love triangle. She's an ex-agent who has been hired to find the kidnappers. In plain prose, Baldacci lays out a complex scenario of conspiracies, politics, blackmail and murder. But the story never comes to life.