One of James Patterson’s strongest series surely includes the Michael Bennett thrillers. Full of great action and offset by the detective’s massive family, Patterson has built a strong collection that series fans flock to whenever something happens. There is great writing here, which can be somewhat attributed to James O. Born, his collaborator, which only adds definite intrigue to the series. I was highly impressed with this newest instalment and hope it means there is more to come from NYPD’s sharpest detective.
After receiving a cryptic call while on his honeymoon in Ireland, Michael Bennett is keen to see what is was all about when he gets back home. After being barraged by his ten (!) children, Bennett makes some calls, only to discover that his friend and colleague, FBI Agent Emily Parker, has gone missing in Washington. Bennett, a dedicated detective in the NYPD, is as loyal as he is hardworking and makes an agreement with his new bride, Mary-Catherine, that he will spend a few days in the nation’s capital looking for Emily.
Using a few leads and a singlet FBI agent who agrees to help him, Bennett follows the crumbs from the last investigation on which Emily worked, which includes speaking to an anarchist group with strong ties all across the country. While they appear to be quite dopey on the surface, this group is strong, well-educated, and connected, making their repeated encounters with Bennett anything but chance. Bennett must also push back on the other police presence who my not want him there, including the Metro PD and FBI, both of whom have their own views on Bennett’s work.
It is only when Bennett learns more about Emily Parker and her personal life that the investigation opens up even more. While she had a calm exterior, Emily liked daring things and found herself involved with some powerful men, something DC breeds. What Bennett discover when looking into the lives of congressmen, business tycoons, and even a US Supreme Court Justice is that anything goes and all are potential suspects. When news comes that it may be more than a kidnapping, Bennett is shattered, but refuses to stand down, even after multiple warnings, focusing his attention on the murder. If he is going to get to the bottom of this, Bennett will do it for Emily and face any consequence put before him. A chilling addition to the Michael Bennett series, which James Patterson and James O. Born have woven together flawlessly.
There are time that James Patterson shines and is not simply slapping his name onto the cover of a book. This is one of those occasions, surely due to the hard work of James O. Born. The two work well together to keep the story strong and the action ongoing. A great narrative flow, helped along by Patterson’s trademark short chapters, provides guidance for the reader as they navigate through the countless spins the novel encounters. Decent characters, flavouring the piece in depth and humour, help offset some of the darker moments of the piece. Plots are strong and leave the reader wanting more, which opens the door to the next book in the series. There are moments when I lost myself in the action, while others were great filler moments to offer character development or series broadening before moving on. I am eager to see where things are headed, as this is one series that has much potential. I will say that I was a little displeased that Bennett’s trio to DC could not, even in passing, have had some Alex Cross.
Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Born, for breathing new life into Michael Bennett.