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Saturday, 14 November 2015

I, Michael Bennett by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (Michael Bennett, #5) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

Michael Bennett takes down a notorious drug kingpin

-- and becomes his No. 1 target...

16685137

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 503
Chapters: 109 (Plus a prologue with two parts.)
Publisher: Arrow Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

Boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!

I, Michael Bennett is insane!

Suspend your disbelief, readers, because you are in for a rip-roaring ride of pure adrenaline. As the fifth entry in the series it's the best by far, at least until I get devouring the future instalments. If you're looking for a thriller/crime series with a strong male lead, that's simple and doesn't use too many brain cells, then Patterson and Ledwidge have you covered. The quality so far, over all the books I've read with this character, has been solid and unwavering.

And, yes, I spent my Friday night (and some of Saturday morning) flying through the pages.

I am not ashamed.

SPOILER WARNING

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

Detective Michael Bennett knows how to handle a major case, and this time is no different.
As Team Leader of a joint task force, he manages to bring down the notorious drug lord Manuel Perrine.
Drinks all round!
That is, until police officers and judges start to be assassinated, all the while Perrine is locked up, awaiting trial.
Bennett, under no illusions that the crime lord is behind the murders, sets out to make sure his man goes down for his crimes.
But Manuel Perrine is no little fish, and even behind bars he's as deadly as ever.
Especially as he sets his sight on Bennett's family, with heartbreaking consequences...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge kick us off with an intense and exciting start as our hero descends on the drug kingpin. Tension, action and a fast pace rockets you forward and steals your breath away. It's fun, in that dark, innocent-fictional-people-are-being-shot kind of way. But, of course, with any great achievement, there has to be the fall, and everyone falls far.

Our protagonist's family have been at the precipice of danger before, but I, Michael Bennett takes us on an even more deadly journey (if that's even possible). The professional dangers our hero's work entails bleeds into his personal life with a fierce malevolence. Two of his kids are actually shot, and the surprise and horror of that really pushes the intimate feel the novel's had from page one.

For sure, I could not handle a drug lord coming after my family and me. The suspense and fear that transfers to the reader is powerful, especially considering how fast the flow of the story is.

But to top off a superb and thrilling adventure, our authors give us an ending to be remembered. I saw it divided many, but for me personally, it rocks! I will not forget the last half of the book in a hurry. Thanks to the engaging and terrific building blocks, the action-packed, fire-fuelled culmination of events is a real payoff. A huge gift.

And instead of finishing on the usual 'We caught the bad guy!' note, things are left at a heartbreaking crossroads, leaving the future of the Bennett clan in a dense mist.

The plot is definitely big enough to encompass more than one entry, and I am excited for the future.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

I have no real eloquent way to put it, but let me tell you, this has to be the fastest Patterson novel I've ever had the pleasure of reading. And, trust me, that's saying something. The authors use the standard short chapters to brilliant effect, and the story and characters drive it all home with unflinching confidence.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

I love Detective Michael Bennett, I won't deny it. He's a great crime character. His good-guy mentality is reinforced by his dedicated police work and huge, loving family (he has ten kids remember, plus Seamus, his grandfather, and Mary Catherine, his nanny/love interest). But his vulnerabilities contrast nicely. The conflicts he faces aren't anything revolutionary, but with this straight-up thriller and riveting lead, who cares?

We even, finally, get to see the toll his work takes on him and his family. There's been little instances of this, where cases affect him etc., but it looks like I, Michael Bennett really drives it in. As a jack-of-all-trades police officer, he's seen some darkness. And darkness can swallow you whole. There are some great moments of reflection that mirror real life: Such as, despite all the light and good decent people fight to impart on the world, evil always seems that little bit stronger.

I'm not so keen on his and Mary Catherine's perpetual will-they-won't-they dance. I really feel their relationship reached a new level in this instalment's predecessor, Tick Tock, so when I, Michael Bennett sort of reset the board, I rolled my eyes. Thankfully, I think we're making our way to some sort of resolution, but the cliffhanger ending really leaves things up in the air.

The rest of the cast fills out nicely. The characters do their jobs; they're neither exceptional, nor underwhelming. There are two characters, Tara and Hughie, that the authors do a stellar job of bringing to the forefront, but they die, so... Tara's death is especially a shock (I'm really glad I have a spoiler warning up top, cause I'm spilling my guts).

Writing - 5/5 Stars

I found nothing wrong with the writing: It's still streamlined and straight-to-the-point. Then again, I was turning pages so fast the words almost blurred beneath my eyes. I've pretty much covered all the facets of what I think of Patterson's writing over the many reviews for his books. Sadly, that means these parts of my reviews eventually start to sound the same.

I'm sorry! Need to brush up on my reviewer skills...

Overall - 5/5 Stars

I, Michael Bennett is everything I need right now.

Thank you, Mr Patterson and Mr Ledwidge.


Previous Instalment: Tick Tock
Next Instalment: Gone


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