Total Control
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Product Description

Sidney Archer has the world. A husband she loves, a job at which she excels, and a cherished young daughter. Then, as a plane plummets into the Virginia countryside, everything changes. And suddenly there is no one whom Sidney Archer can trust.

Jason Archer is a rising young executive at Triton Global, the world's leading technology conglomerate. Determined to give his family the best of everything, Archer has secretly entered into a deadly game of cat and mouse. He is about to disappear--leaving behind a wife who must sort out his lies from his truths, an air-crash investigation team that wants to know why the plane he was ticketed on suddenly fell from the sky, and a veteran FBI agent who wants to know it all.

From Seattle to Washington, D.C., from New Orleans to Maine, the hunt for Jason Archer follows a trail as complex as the world he lived and worked in--a world of enormously powerful computers, a multimillion-dollar takeover deal, titanic financial standoffs, artificial intelligence, and the Internet. With brilliant minds colliding, ruthless men waging battles of intimidation, rainmakers going toe-to-toe with killers, and security specialists making a fortune trying to plug the holes, the startling truth behind Jason Archer's disappearance explodes into a sinister plot with the murder of the country's single most powerful individual.

And soon Archer's wife, Sidney, aided by the relentless and sharp-eyed FBI agent Lee Sawyer, will plunge straight into the violence that is leaving behind a trail of dead bodies and shocking, exposed secrets. . . .

In Total Control David Baldacci pulls out all the stops. Here is a novel that displays a breathtaking inside knowledge of the legal, financial, and high-tech fields as well as a master storyteller's gift for suspense and unforgettable characters--from the courageous Sidney Archer to the egomaniacal head of Triton Global to the soft-spoken computer genius who is the company's number-one asset. And with a plot that astounds from the first page to the last, Total Control achieves total success.

Customer Reviews:

  • Twists and Turns Worth Navigating
    Like earlier reviews, I do agree that Baldacci did go a tad overboard with the physical reactions of characters; however, I think the story line was engaging and just realistic enough to make you question the amount of power bestowed on the Federal Reserve. Well-developed characters and many thriller "hide-n-seek" scenarios kept my attention. A clever, fast-paced read....more info
  • exciting
    I am a big fan of David Baldacci and I have several of his books. This is a good book to read if you are someone who enjoys the computer and corporate world and plenty of thrills and espionage. It keeps your interest all the way through it. I highly recommend it as well as many of his other works. I saw the movie "Absolute Power" which is taken from one of his books and I am now hooked....more info
  • Great Book
    This is the first book I read from baldacci, I tried it because the Amazon recommendation. It was amazing. It kept a quick pace throughout 700 pages. It was an action-filled mystery with likeable characters and plot twists. I will definately read another baldacci book and highly recommend this one!!...more info
  • If you've liked his other books - you'll enjoy this one too
    This book kept me reading until the end, but it is far from a masterpiece of fiction. It always amazed me how the main character, Sidney, a new mom and powerhouse lawyer, constantly escaped the hands of her predators, who, by the way, easily managed to kill everyone else Sidney contacted. But that's fiction for you.

    Overall I thought this was a good book though. It's the type of book that will keep you turning pages, even when you don't want to anymore. The ending was a little weak, but the story is complex and well written. I know that I'm not giving this book rave reviews, but I do respect authors like Baldacci for their ability to produce a book like this. I say that becuase it's something I don't think I could do....more info

  • not bad
    I thought this book wasn't bad by today's standards. I like a lot of action in a story, however, and it fell somewhat short in that area. I enjoyed parts of it, especially the last couple of chapters, and any more that's about as good as the mainstream fiction work gets....more info
  • Mixed review
    Determined to followup his claim to fame with a novel of equal epic proportions, this is what we got. Total Control is FOR THE MOST PART a well executed political thriller with a few twists and turns and action. It's also a double edged sword in many cases, in that for every good thing Baldacci does, he also errors slightly. For example, the overall story is very intricate and well developed, but this makes the story overly long, and the area between page 400 and 600 sometimes seems like a drag. The story has a great ending, with lots of action and battle, but then the biggest climax of all is just sort of thrown out the window and dismissed in a single sentence for one of the greatest letdowns ever.
    Similarly, the plot is very clever and well thought out, but it's also hard to follow for the casual reader. There's a lot of info to digest while reading, and it can make it a tough read. Lastly, I know some people pointed out the fact that many of the characters are unrealistic, and this is true in some cases. I'd say that Baldacci makes about half of his characters believable in this one, which... is not horrible, except the main character, Sydney Archer, is not one of them. The result is that this book can only be read in little pieces at a time, it's not the page turner that it's predecessor and the next book are.
    Overall, not a bad followup to a breakout work. It's nowhere to start, definitely do Absolute Power first, and then maybe The Winner and then this. Baldacci is sort of hit or miss, except for this one, because this one is smack in the middle....more info
  • A damn fine suspense book
    I found this book to be the finest suspense novel I've read in a long time. The plot twists were superb, and while the ending was a tad bit disappointing, the book remained a fine page turner from beginning to end.

    Reviewing a book like this from a literary perspective is like expecting Mission Impossible II to be Oscar material. Did the author turn a phrase in a way my soul found uplifting? Like I cared. Did I have fun reading this book? You betcha - it is a thrilling, satisfying ride....more info

  • Exciting and fresh!
    David Baldacci's "Total Control" kept me riveted throughout with it's roller-coaster plot and exciting characters. I hadn't read one of his thrillers before this, but liked "Wish You Well" so much that I wanted to delve into his previous works. I wasn't disappointed. Although in need of some continuity editing, "Total Control" was strong enough a story to hold my attention and make me want more....more info
  • Excellent Book
    I found this book to be one of the best I have read. I started reading it and finished it in one day. I could not put it down, I just had to know what happened to certain characters and who was responsible for everything....more info
  • Exciting Read
    Thought I had run out of good thriller authors to read but when I read Total control I was enlightened. Have since read two other Baldacci novels and have enjoyed all of them. Total Control is a fast paced, interesting story that's both technical and suspenseful without being bland or tedious....more info
  • 16 Year Old Suddenly Writes Book, Makes Millions!
    The main female character in Total Control, Sidney, is a senior partner in a major law firm but spends most of the book acting like a 14 year old. If another partner speaks to her in a way she doesn't like, she gives them a cold look and doesn't "grace them" with a response. Sidney would have trouble holding down a job as a receptionist, much less a senior partner. If Baldacci had made her smack her gum a few more times, she could easily have gone undercover in a junior high school.

    Baldacci has Inspector Clousseau's eye for detail. In one early scene on page 85, two characters meet at the site of an airplane crash, and Baldacci sets a new record for cramming the most inconsistencies into a single paragraph. Baldacci describes the daylight as "rapidly failing," but Lee Sawyer shows up wearing sunglasses, perhaps because in Baldacci's junior-high world on-duty cops are required to wear sunglasses at all times. George Kaplan "freezes" when he sees Sawyer then squints to try to make out who that person is a "bare five feet away." I can usually identify people from 5 feet away, but then again, I don't squint to see in the dark; I open my eyes wider. When Sawyer steps forward, Kaplan is able to identify him--from about two feet away by my reckoning--which is probably pretty good for someone who's squinting in the dark.

    Baldacci attended the Archie Bunker school of word choice, and selects his words more for what they sound like than what they mean. He has characters "alight into" a car. (You can't alight "into" a car; you can only alight "out of" a car.) Kaplan squints in the "rapidly failing" light. "Failing?" How about "fading?" On page 378 (which is almost as dense with hilarious inconsistencies as page 85), Baldacci reports that "a twitch erupted over Sidney's left eye." A twitch can't erupt. A twitch is minor. A "spasm" could erupt. How about just writing "Her left eyelid twitched?" Later, "Sidney struggled mightily not to perceptibly wince at the remark." Aside from the split infinitive, I think it would be as easy to notice a woman "struggling mightily" as to notice her wincing "perceptibly." Still further down the page, "Sidney felt herself trembling." What's does Baldacci mean by that? Did she reach out with one hand and feel the other hand trembling, or did she "notice" rather than "feel" that she was trembling? Throughout the book, most things happen "suddenly" as in "Steve suddenly criticized Baldacci's book on"

    The book is written almost exclusively in the passive voice. The sentence construction is truly impressive in that you would never think it was possible to twist certain words into a passive formation: "Sidney's legs were put by her into the front of the car." Weird things happen with people's legs throughout the book. Lee Sawyer walks on "telephone pole size legs" (presumably Baldacci is referring to thickness, not length). In one scene, Baldacci says "Sidney's legs began walking down the street." (We never learn where the rest of her went in that particular scene.)

    This book requires the reader to suspend his or her disbelief, and in that it excels. You will be able to practice suspending your disbelief in laws of physics, human nature, business practices, legal procedings, police procedure, modern computing, and virtually every other topic Baldacci addresses.

    After reading the first 10 pages, I was surprised that the book had been published at all. After the first 50, I kept reading for the amusement of seeing characters that were so silly and a plot that was so contrived -- and because other people on the airplane had taken all the more literary reading material, such as Seventeen and Tiger Beat magazines.

    After 250 pages, I squinted my eyes and suddenly became convinced that Baldacci was 15 or 16 years old. The author changes voice and tense frequently, but mostly writes in third person omniscient. Readers are given full access to every thought every character in the book has for the duration of the adventure, and most of those are at the junior high level. If you read the book as a description of junior high school students role playing attorneys, FBI agents, computer programmers, and so on, it actually makes a lot of sense. Reinforcing my guess, Baldacci's word choices are mostly at about the 5th grade level, but every 3 or 4 pages he throws in a word like "brook," as in "Sidney's telephone-pole sized legs would brook no thought of walking down the street." I concluded that Baldacci was studying for the SAT as he wrote this book and worked in a lot of the words from his SAT study guide.

    I didn't make it all the way to the ending, but I imagine it ends something like this:

    Sidney's eyelids were made to coolly squint at the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. "Miranda Shmiranda," she extemporized. Her hand suddenly slapped the Chief Justice on the lower left side of his cheek. The Chief Justice immediately froze and winked with pain. "That will show him to deny my appeal," she thought to herself, smacking her gum as her legs walked down Wall Street and off into the sunset....more info

  • Don't listen to the audiobook, READ IT YOURSELF!
    Five stars for the book, zero for the tape ... or, maybe one. But that's it. When I read the book I couldn't put it down until I finished it. It's amazing what you can do with computers nowadays. All the corruption, not knowing what's going to happen next, really awesome! When I recommended it to my Dad, he wasn't too interested at first but after reading the first chapter he was hooked. I gave it to a friend of mine to read but he thought it was really dull and got the audiocassette. We listened to it together, I thought the tape was really dull. The way David Dukes reads the voice of Sidney Archer is ridiculous, all the different accents, although they're all from the same place ... not so great. The way he reads it you don't even like the characters because their voices sound so silly....more info
  • A Page Turner
    This book was lent to me by a person who knew I loved reading Grisham. Well they were right. This is another book which is a page turner. If this is Baldacci's style, I will be reading all of his works.

    In this book we watch as a typical American family is faced with the greed of a powerful corporation. You have a husband who is an executive at an technology firm. And his wife, a mother and attorney of the firm working on an important merger of two companies. One of which is the one he works for. The husband is working on making enough money so his wife can be a stay-at-home mother. Then he disapears with a cloud of alegations over his head. and his wife is left to clear his name.

    This book has all the excitment you would expect in a thriller. And you will turn the pages fast, looking to see what happens next. And even though you know there is no way she could posibbly beat the odds she is up against in real life, you will stay engrossed in this story....more info

  • Would make a great silent movie
    Interesting idea, but oddly written. I'm not talking grammar and syntax, like some other reviewers. I refer to the over-the-top style. Everything is a crisis!!! On every page characters are wincing or gimacing, their throats are constricting, they cannot breathe. I spent a lot of my time rolling my eyes. Why didn't I just put it down? Good question- it is just compelling enough to keep turning those pages....more info
  • Real Disappointment
    Don't you just hate in the slasher movies where the teenage girl is being chased out the front door by some guy in a hockey mask wielding a cleaver and instead of running toward the potential safety of neighbors, she runs around the house into the dark, secluded woods.

    That's exactly how I felt reading this book. The main character just keeps making terrible choices that kept me wincing through the whole book. I'm not a stickler for believability in a book like this, but I hate when a supposedly intelligent lawyer, wife and mom makes absurd choices one after another.

    I'm not sure why I finished reading this book except to say that it held my attention just enough to keep me reading to the end.

    And see how many times Sidney, the main character, has "tears streaming down her face". I lost count.

    You probably want to pass on this book....more info

  • A terrific read
    This is an older novel that has lost none of its steam. Their are many twists and turns, but for the most part they retain the plausibility that often goes out the window. Since this is an older book and technology plays such a strong role, there are many things which technologically are out of date. If you look at it as a historical novel, albeit recent, that potential problem area fades rapidly. Highly recommended....more info
  • Excellent
    This is absolute the best thriller I have read so far. Grisham's fan would love it too. Absolutely page-turning. It is better than even "Last Man Standing" and "The Winner"....more info
  • sad
    The biggest gripe I have about this book is the quality of writing. For instance all the characters at some point in time seem to be "hitting" things. On the same page Sidney 'hits' a garage opener and later on 'hits' a button to lower her car window and 2 pages later she is again 'hitting' the button on the garage door opener. And such stereotypes! All of Mr Baldacci's heroines are good looking in the extreme and super smart to boot. Even the 2 women in Absolute Power conform to this. In this book just as the author goes overboard with the characters' physical reactions so he does with the descriptions of Sidney's beauty and smarts. Lee Sawyer spends less time thinking about the crash than he does about Sidney's looks and intelligence which, regardless of the time or circumstance, never cease to amaze him. His technical people are uniformly 'geeky' either having unkempt hair and untidy clothes (like the character in Absolute power) or are bald and pudgy (like the one in this book). His agents are old and dedicated and have dysfunctional family lives.

    Granted that thriller writing does not call for much by way of language skills, but any book by Archer, Forsyth or even Follett will demonstrate much, much better quality of writing without sacrificing plot or suspense. I think the main reason for his popularity is that with the ever decreasing attention span of the average reader anything more taxing than the stuff churned out by Mr Baldacci will just not be appreciated.

    And when writers like Tom Clancy go to extaordinary lengths to get the technolgy-related facts right why is the author insistent on writing about technology when he is manifestly not competent to do so. The sequence where Quentin Rowe tries to explain the future of computing to Lee Sawyer is so unrealistic that it is almost funny. And just what exactly is "A litany of engineering applications" that need a chip capable of carrying out 2 TIPS? This is just plain bad writing and worse proof-reading. Why would one believe that a leading law firm connects to the Internet using a modem and when did computers start displaying the available 'hard disk memory' at boot-up? Techno-thrillers are indeed a very successful genre but this is definitely not one. In short just a plain bad book...more info

  • Nelson DeMille influence
    Being cautious not to find a book that I wouldn't finish, I downloaded the electronic version from my library. My most favorite book in the world is Nelson DeMille's Charm School, and now David's Total Control shares that title. The 624 pages went FAST. This is a page turner that you just can't wait to find out what the next exciting action packed page has in store! I could not believe the extreme pace, multiple plot lines that were tied together and finally a finale worth the entire read. GIVE ME MORE~!...more info
  • Puerile writing
    The negative reviews by other readers here say it all. This is amateurish writing: The langugage is clumsy, the characters inconsistent, silly, undeveloped, caricatures. Read something else....more info
  • A read that makes your adrenalin start to pump!!!
    I have just finished reading this book which although a little slow to get into, soon took me by the scruff of the neck and pushed me through it's pages towards the end. An end which you knew was sure to come but did not no when and indeed how. Should this become a film and they stick to the original plot, it will take the industry(film) by storm. I have read all but 'Saving Faith', which I hope to get hold of soon, and would class David Baldacci as one of my favourite modern day authors. I do hope that there is more of his books in the pipeline....more info
  • A fast-paced, modern cloak-and-dagger adventure
    David Baldacci's Total Control careens on a collision course towards a firey conclusion. This fast-paced, modern mystery grips the reader from the first few pages, then refuses to release their attention until the last few. Baldacci keeps the tone taut with suspense and intrigue, allowing his audience to watch both sides of the story - both hero and villain - as they cat-and-mouse their way across the country.

    The heroine is an attactive attorney whose husband seems to be mixed up in some less than savory activites at the office. This is complicated by the fact that as an attorney, she represents his company, which throws her into a maelstrom of conflicting interests and circumstantial evidence that makes her look guilty. When her husband goes missing, she single-handedly tries to clear his name, then is thrust against her will into trying to clear her own. With no one on her side, she must covertly attempt to crack this case without aid from her employer (who disowns her), her husband (who cannot be found), and the law (who's looking for her).

    Baldacci balances the tense plot with break-neck action and a believable emotional side. The heroine makes believable mistakes and can act irrationally when her husband's safety is concerned, sometimes even seeming paralyzed with fear and grief, all while attempting to shield her young daughter from the chaos swirling around them. She also accomplishes herioc things without ever seeming man-ish. (There is a pseudo-sexual tension between her and a grizzly old cop that doesn't quite work, but thankfully Baldacci doesn't slum with so many popular authors who would force them to sleep together.)

    Baldacci shows some flashes of story-telling brilliance here. Though some may argue this book is far from "high art", it effectively accomplishes its goal: capture Total Control of its audience....more info

  • Twists and turns couldnt save this book
    I should say this book could be much much better. The author picks up a very typical subject- industrial espionage- and handles it wonderfully with many twists and turns. So far so good... The problem here is the heroine: Sidney Archer. He messed up the whole book with this in my opinion. I have to ask the author: How come a lawyer turned into a female rambo all of a sudden? Sidney Archer is a total nonsense. For instance how can she ever know or think of fixing the gas pedal of the auto and gettting into the house from the back? Completely ridiculuous Mr. Baldacci... I expected a more serious book. If you want some chasing scenes, this book can fit you otherwise forget it...more info
  • sophmoric effort
    baldacci is a masterful storyteller; but this, his second book,belies the fact.overly long,tedious and desultory.heroine escapes death more often than the cartoon coyote survives mishaps.skipping over this one to his subsequent works is highly recommended....more info
  • Poorly Structured Effort by Baldacci
    TOTAL CONTROL is David Baldacci's second novel, following his tremendous debut ABSOLUTE POWER. Unfortunately, Baldacci suffers from a major case of the sophomore jinx here.

    The major problem with this novel is the byzantine plot. The storyline is so convoluted that I had real problems following it. A series of events take place and Baldacci makes little effort to connect them coherently. Normally, Baldacci's strength is his plotting and pacing, but those skills are largely absent in this novel.

    The characterization in TOTAL CONTROL is paper-thin, which is a common problem with a lot of Baldacci's work. Normally, his plotting skills make up for the cartoonish characters, but that doesn't happen here. The result is a tedious, confusing read that is not worth your time.

    I've read about eight novels by Baldacci, and I would say TOTAL CONTROL was probably the worst of the bunch. Avoid this one, and read ABSOLUTE POWER if you haven't done so already.

    ...more info
  • yuppie mom vs. ex-CIA psychos
    This kind of stuff is great for travelling. You plunks down your bucks at the airport lounge; you gets your 700 pages of tough cops, beautiful and spunky women, and not-so-very well hidden goony bad guys. I liked the Lee Sawyer character, and the general premise was okay, but it was far less fun when the book was less about investigation and more about " see Sydney run."

    Although there are a couple of good twists concerning connections between various plot threads, one would have to be comatose to not see the final endgame. Baldacci makes only a couple of half-hearted attempts to distract us from the blaring neon lights that are our villains.

    The Sydney Archer character became increasingly ridiculous as the story went on. Trying to picture her single-handedly taking on a crew of ex-CIA psychopaths only resulted in cringing. The writing of the final shootout battle was basically nonexistent; instead we felt like we were being rushed to the finale.

    All-in-all, with reasonably low expectations, one won't be overly disappointed to have this book for layover reading....more info

  • A non-stop action packed mystery thriller
    Did I get enough adjectives into the review title? I hope so. This book deserves it. Every one of the nearly 700 pages of this book is filled with incredible intrigue and plot twists. Plane crashes, embezzlement, kidnapping, hostages, the FBI, lawyer-turned-crime solver ... it's all there. I've read hundreds of mystery novels, and this ranks in my top ten. The book was so tantalizing, that I read it in one day. Could not put it down!...more info
  • It kept me going
    I liked the book. It wasn't as good as The Simple Truth in my eyes but it kept my interest. Good characters in Sidney,Jason, and Sawyer. If you like Balduccis other work you'll enjoy it. I also think if you like Sandford, Grisham, or Martini you should try to read it....more info
    My first introduction to David Baldacci was back in 1996 when People Magazine picked his first book, Absolute Power, as the "Page Turner of the Week". I thought the premise of that book was phenomenal and I became an immediate fan. For some reason, I skipped over Total Control and went on to read his third and fourth books, The Winner and The Simple Truth. Both were good reads but nothing compared to Absolute Power. I'm glad I went back and read Total Control because it's in true Baldacci form in my opinion.

    In this offering, Baldacci takes the typical American family, Sidney and Jason Archer and their little daughter Amy, and pits them against corporate greed at its worst. Sidney (the wife with a man's name) is a corporate attorney. Jason, the husband, is an executive with a technology company. Since Sidney is working on a deal that will merge her husband's company with another major technology firm, she is privy to many things that could lead to trouble. Jason, on the other hand, is struggling to make more money so that his wife can become a stay-at-home mom to their daughter. While this concept is characteristic of many American families, sometimes this drive can lead to a downward spiral of events from which there is no return. When Jason disappears, it is up to Sidney to try to clear his name while trying to save her own job at the same time. This book is replete with all the scenarios that followers of the thriller genre have come to expect. There's a plane crash, a car chase, espionage, kidnapping, phone-tapping and the usual sinister characters you find in most of Baldacci's books.

    I read most of this book on the plane traveling from Minnesota to Philadelphia. It never seems to fail that when I'm flying, I'm usually reading a book that involves a plane crash. The good thing about this book is that it is so fast-paced that I arrived at my destination without even realizing I had been in the air over three hours. If you're looking for something that is suspenseful and believable, I think you'd enjoy this one. I'd like to add that as I looked around to see what other people on the plane were reading, I was not surprised to see other readers with Baldacci titles in their hands. I guess he's come a long way since that first book back in 1996. Kudos to you David Baldacci for your well-deserved success....more info

  • Totally first class.