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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Burn by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (Michael Bennett, #7) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

Back in New York.

Back under fire...

21953024

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 474
Chapters: 110 (Plus a prologue with eight parts.)
Publisher: Arrow Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

Can I just say how much I love Michael Bennett, our hero-cop lead? He's perhaps my favourite crime lead right now, I cannot stay away from him.

Rolling out Burn, the Michael Bennett series' seventh instalment, Patterson and Ledwidge concoct another brutal story with stakes higher than ever. Returning to his home after a long time in exile, Bennett and his extensive family are faced with harsher, heart-in-your-throat situations, on both the professional and personal fronts.

The book barely stops to take a breath before something else explodes within the plot. If this is the standard I can expect from every entry, I will always be there for the next.

SPOILER WARNING

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

After a lengthy, deadly battle against one of the world's most dangerous drug lords, the Bennett clan are finally home.
And it's business as usual.
Without even a thanks, Detective Michael Bennett is effectively demoted by a former friend and current nemesis.
Meanwhile, New York slides down to hell.
With the rich throwing lavish parties where they eat the flesh of innocent people, diamond robbers who leave no trace, and a potentially earth-shattering development on the home front, the idyllic life of the countryside they've just left becomes incredibly tempting for Mike.
But being a cop is in his blood.
And bad guys don't imprison themselves...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

The authors start us off with a nice bout of solid continuity. The story from I, Michael Bennett and Gone gets a nod from the Prologue of Burn. It's not a surprise, that plot thread is massive and the ode in this entry helps the world bleed more firmly together, rather than each book being reset to factory setting every time a new story unfolds. 

Roughly a month after the previous instalment, Mike and the family return home (yay!) and our protagonist is ready, willing and able to jump back into his police role and catch some bad guys. I mean, he did catch a worldwide monster who no one else seemed able to get close to; he risked his life, his family's life, everything, all to do the right thing. But, does he get some praise? No. He is 'transferred' (demoted if we're being blunt) by an old enemy who ranks higher than him in the force.

And when he gets to his new position as head of a formative victim outreach program, the ignorance, incompetence and sheer ineptitude of the program is staggering. Fortunately, it sets up a fantastic new direction, with Bennett in charge. The adversity our hero faces, despite probably being the best detective on the scene, is infuriating and addictive. Mike becomes an underdog (albeit a highly skilled one), and who doesn't love an underdog's rise to glory? 

The bureaucratic injustice is nothing new, but with what follows, Bennett deserves his fame.

I also adore the fact that Mike now has his own division, and even though they're newbies and the group rarely get worthwhile cases, Bennett whips them into a tight-knit machine. Keep in this direction!

Then the mystery! Cannibals, a cop killed and the body staged as a suicide, impressive diamond robbers, a crazy, psychopathic ex who's hunting to kill and the biological father of one of Bennett's ten kids shows up to take them away! It's all going on, Bennett's back in New York and Patterson and Ledwidge are throwing everything they can at him. It's rapturous, interesting and downright ecstasy. 

While the way the cases intersect is a little hard to swallow (like a big, dry coincidence pill), and the ending is a tad abrupt, it's hard not to enjoy the undiluted, but tight, chaos. Wrapping everything up with some sickening revelations and hard-core detective work.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

Probably the fastest one in the entire series. You just zip through Burn and its drug-like delirium. The pages most definitely do turn themselves.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

The best cast and character developments to date.

And, Michael and Mary Catherine finally appear to be going steady! YES! Everything just seems to run that much smoother when there isn't the usual relationship drama between the two; the book's chockablock full of dilemmas anyway, especially on the personal front.

The diversity of cases opens a door in this entry with the addition of Bennett's new gang. I've actually come to love each of the unique men and women under his command, the authors have done a great job on that front. It beats the characters that are usually just filler, there to perform a role and no more. 

But it's the personal problems that really drive the cast's progression, specifically the Bennett clan. A lot happens: Chrissy's (she's one of the ten Bennett children) biological father pops up desperate to tear her away from Mike; Seamus, our main's grandfather, has a stroke; and Mary Catherine's mother dies! Mike's status as a great guy and phenomenal police officer is reinforced as his boundaries are pushed; Seamus shows us what a strong Irishman he is, but there's definitely heartbreak in the future; and Mary Catherine's thread pulls her and Mike closer together than ever.

Bennett has his work more than cut out for him this time round. But don't worry, Mr B, we readers have your back! (Yep, talking to a fictional main character might be a tad crazy, but many a bibliophile will know my pain.)

Writing - 5/5 Stars

If you've made it this far in the series it's the standard fare: Quick, quick, quick.

Oh, and action, action, tons of intrigue.

If you're not this far, see above.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

Another Bennett adventure done and dusted.

Time for more.


Previous Instalment: Gone
Next Instalment: Alert


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