A brutal drug lord threatens all-out war...
Chapters: 104 (Plus a prologue with four parts.)
Book Links: Goodreads
Gone is, essentially, I, Michael Bennett (the previous instalment) Part Two, as it rounds out and completes the story of drug kingpin Manuel Perrine. It also holds on tight to the fantastic quality and pulse-pounding experience set by its predecessor. Action-packed and lightning-quick, this entry to the series is a must for any adrenaline-addicted bibliophile. The strong cast embodies the plot, and as the authors weave together the various tales of tension, unwittingly throughout, all you can think is, give me the next book immediately!
The Michael Bennett series doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon, and if you've loved the books thus far, then Gone reaffirms the authors' continuing abilities.
If you've been less than enamored, then maybe check out some of the authors' other works. For more James Patterson reviews from me, jump over to the Index.
Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)
Detective Michael Bennett and his family have been forced into hiding.
The vicious drug lord, Manuel Perrine, has a high price on all of their heads.
And all because Mike tried to take him down.
Angry at the world for punishing the good and lifting up the evil, Mike sits on the bench far from the game, on a farm in the countryside.
He's helpless as Perrine starts to expand, taking out rivals who refuse to bend the knee, and ultimately declaring war against the US.
The Bennett family will never be safe, not unless the monster is caught.
And only one man has ever been able to do that.
Michael Bennett will have to risk his life, or a lot more will lose theirs...
Plot - 5/5 Stars
We pick up around eight months (give or take) after the conclusion of I, Michael Bennett, and the Bennett clan are living an idyllic, simple life on a farm a long way from civilisation. Manuel Perrine, the big bad of the last book and this one, is steadily expanding his empire, removing anyone in his path with deadly (literally) efficiency.
We cut back and forth from Perrine's crew taking out the competition without being impeded, and the Bennett clan's frustration at being removed from their lives. The balance of the first half of the novel is superb, and the transitions between slow scenes and fast ones is great. It conveys the story's severity and change of rhythm from past instalments, while also filling us in on all the pertinent details needed for the plot to get going.
And, boy, does it get going. Unsurprisingly, Mike gets back in the game. The stakes are risen considerably throughout, invigoratingly so. There are raids on fortress-like mansions, adventures through different landscapes as the entirety of government bodies in America hunt down the villain. Both authors know how to manipulate the reader, and Gone is a tremendous sequel to I, Michael Bennett, that runs in much the same vein.
There's a more standard-feeling conclusion this time round, but it's due and satisfying, especially as our hero and his family get to return home, and that's always sweet.
Although, what happened to that Tailor dude? The killer contracted to kill the Bennett family? He had a brief chapter then vanished. Perhaps an indication of the future?
Pace - 5/5 Stars
Despite the change halfway through the story (where the plot picks up enormously), the pace is quick and enjoyable. Depending on how you view it, the suspension of disbelief you adopt (there are some sceptical scenes) really helps the pages turn themselves. I know a few people who aren't so keen on the less realistic aspects, but if you're not picky, Patterson and co-authors almost always do a phenomenally thrilling job.
Characters - 4.5/5 Stars
I'm gonna get my one and only con out of the way, and it's the same one I have for I, Michael Bennett: Can we please resolve the long-winded relationship dance going on between Mr Bennett and his nanny Mary Catherine? It's far less abrasive than it was but, it occupies the first six books... Although (and I've said this many times so far, so don't quote me), it seems we've reached something. Something that, hopefully, remains in play: A proper relationship.
Other than that, every character does a stellar job. Michael Bennett, our hotshot detective, is living a safe, country life, and he hates it. Mike is a cop, through and through; he needs to be out there, fighting the good fight, taking down evil menaces. The anger and tension he feels at having been benched is palpable, and they're the feelings of a man who won't, no, can't, stay that way for long.
Especially since he's the only one to ever catch the biggest bad guy he's ever seen (even though Perrine did escape). With Bennett's retreat, it's as if the entire world has gone to hell without him.
Manuel Perrine, the crazy, cutthroat villain is as terrifying as ever. The way he spreads like a disease really gets the heart going, and his almost untouchable narrative gets you quite worried that Bennett has met his match.
There's also a surprise reappearance of Special Agent Emily Parker, the intelligent and capable woman Bennett has worked with before. It's nice to see her again, and thankfully (I was worried when she first entered the fray), she doesn't die.
Writing - 5/5 Stars
Patterson and Ledwidge are a great writing team, and I hope they continue, because I have no qualms over their skills.
Overall - 5/5 Stars
I'm looking forward to journeying on with this crazy, eclectic cast.
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