cover image First Family

First Family

David Baldacci, , read by Ron McLarty. . Hachette, $39.98 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-60024-548-0

Veteran character actor Ron McLarty brings a strong performance to a rather weak entry in Baldacci's political thriller series featuring ex-Secret Service agents turned private investigators, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. When the president's niece, 12-year-old Willa, is kidnapped, the first lady brings in King and Maxwell to help find her. Unknown to the PIs, the motive behind the abduction has the potential to shake the presidency to the core. Although the action moves swiftly enough, the plot strains credibility, and it is to McLarty's credit that he manages to impart some reality with excellent character voices and sense of urgency. His reading is exceptional during the scenes between Willa and her kidnapper as he plumbs a depth of character beyond the written words. Strategically placed sound effects enhance the listening experience. A Grand Central hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 30). (Apr.)