Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Worst Case - by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Michael Bennett is a New York City cop and single father with a non-traditional clan of ten adopted kids; an Irish priest (Seamus) as his grandfather; and a "god-send" of an au pair (Mary Catherine) to help him keep everyone happy, healthy, and where they need to be. Detective Bennett was first introduced in Step On a Crack, where he was forced to simultaneously deal with a diabolical high-profile hostage situation and his wife's final days, dying of terminal cancer. In Run for Your Life, he matches wits with The Teacher, a twisted but smart and skillful murderer committing violent crimes with no apparent link. In this third installment of the series, Worst Case, Mike is pitted against a frustrated social activist driven to the kidnapping and murder of some of New York's wealthiest children. His activity seems to have a religious (Ash Wednesday) tie and his motivation appears to be an attempt to bring focus and awareness upon the injustices and environmental impacts that occurred as a by-product of the wealth and fortune they had amassed.

The more I read of this series, the more familiar I become with Michael Bennett, his ability to juggle his vastly different family and professional lives, his complicated human emotions, and his quick wit. He is a competent but human protagonist that I genuinely empathize with and appreciate his perspective. On the other hand, this Irish American cop is also a very likable guy. In this novel he works closely with Agent Emily Parker, a beautiful abduction specialist from the FBI. His relationships with both Parker and his nanny, Mary Catherine, evolve to the point of some romantic tension.

As you can probably tell, James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge have certainly drawn me in as a bona-fide fan of this series. I do believe, however, that this book also stands well on its own. While it is obvious that I am not fully objective, I found this a very engaging and enjoyable read and highly recommend it.

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