Chase: A BookShot (Michael Bennett #9.5), by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Seven stars

As Michael Bennett seeks a little of the BookShot spotlight, James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge concoct this high-impact thriller to lull series fans temporarily. As the book opens, a mysterious man is being stalked by two others, eyeing him in the corner of a hotel bar. A brief exchange in a bathroom leaves one injured and our man of mystery racing for the roof. A short confrontation ensues and soon a body is flying over the side, only to crash onto the busy New York streets. When Detective Michael Bennett of Major Crimes arrives, everyone knows this is serious. The body could have been tossed, but there is the possibility that someone is trying their hand at a new and exciting way of committing suicide. When the identification comes back, Bennett and all those around him are stunned. The body belongs to none other than Stephen Eardley, who was killed while fighting in Iraq. And yet, Bennett has seen the body and the identification was run three times to be sure. Bennett uses some influence to get an interview at the Pentagon, though he hits a brick wall and is ushered out before he can learn much of anything. A covert message makes its way to him, sending him out to Pennsylvania, where one Paul Haber might have some answers. Bennett travels out to investigate, but is ambushed and almost killed. As he narrowly escapes, he is left to find safety and try to understand how he has become the hunted and if the men aiming their high-powered rifles at him might know more about Eardley than meets the eye. A quick-paced story that will entertain most readers, not only fans of the successful Bennett series.

When I saw that this piece was listed as “9.5”, I made sure to wait until after I read BULLSEYE, though I ought not have worried. There is no connection to the previous full-length novel, nor should anyone with a general curiosity in BookShots feel they need to know the entire Bennett backstory. There is little time for character development, leaving Patterson and Ledwidge to assume the reader will well-versed in the Bennett clan and their home-based adventures. The plot is not unique to the point of being stellar, but the story flows well and keeps the reader hooked, as many BookShots successfully set out to do. With its poignant Bennett sarcasm, the story is able to be a little lighthearted without losing its impact and keeps the reader hooked until the epilogue.

Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Ledwidge for making this a story worth reading on a Sunday afternoon. Quick read, high impact, well done!