Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Step On A Crack - James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Step On A Crack
James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
Little, Brown and Company


Patterson begins a new series here, starring detective Michael Bennett of the NYPD who acts as investigator, negotiator, and all-around troubleshooter. He’s got plenty of trouble on the home front, too. He and his wife, Maeve, adopted ten children of various backgrounds, and now he and the children are watching cancer whittle Maeve down day by day. His attention is forced back to his job, however, when armed men take over St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the funeral of a beloved former First Lady.

After a bit of negotiating, Bennett is able to get the men to release a good number of the mourners. Those released are the everyday people; the celebrities, movers, and shakers are still inside. It quickly becomes clear that the armed men had this planned all along, as they demand millions from various celebrities. When those demands go unanswered, the killings begin.

As first books in new series go, this is a pretty good example. There’s a lot of ground to cover, since Bennett is constantly being pulled from the hostage site to the hospital to his children. And the authors spend a good deal of time with the coldly efficient killers, as well. Characterizations are a bit thin on the ground, but the opening scene between the former President and former First Lady, while necessarily a set piece that drives the rest of the action; rings true and emotionally invests the reader from the first paragraphs. From the surprising first chapters on, the pace is quick and assured. Another page-turner.

Rating: 7 ½
February 2007
ISBN# 0-316-01394-3 (hardcover)


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