Monday, 12 September 2016

Bullseye by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (Michael Bennett, #9) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

Target in sight.

Finger on the trigger...

Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 339
Chapters: 101 (Plus a prologue with five parts.)
Publisher: Century

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


I've been off my game for the past few weeks. I, unfortunately (and who could blame me?), fell into a Netflix binge... You know, again... So my reading took a slump, which always depresses me and has me cursing procrastination with as many unsavoury words as humanly possible.

But I'm back, and hopefully I can keep up a regular pattern of reading and reviewing. Time will tell.

Picking up a book by authors I know I can rely on for an easy ride (not as salacious as it sounds), James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge blast Bullseye off with a brilliantly explosive beginning. From there, the ninth entry of the Michael Bennett series increases the speed and ferocity, setting up a vast political thriller that delights in epic set pieces and gunfights. 

The character roster also faces a new addition to the Bennett clan, one that unsurprisingly brings some chaos and fulfils Patterson's usual style of blending the professional with the personal.

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

When a credible threat comes in against the President's life, it's all hands on deck.
NYPD Detective Michael Bennett is once again thrust onto the front lines, but even he can't imagine the true extent of what New York faces.
When an attempt is made and narrowly avoided during a UN meeting, Bennett catches his first glimpse of the game.
Intelligence suggests that Russia may be behind the assassination plot, but the tool being used is a killer who can outsmart all of America's government agencies.
Forced into a deadly hunt for a ruthless assassin, Bennett will have to balance battles on all fronts.
Especially the ones he doesn't even know exist...

Plot - 4/5 Stars

Beginning with a bang, Bullseye keeps both feet on the accelerator. It's a typical Patterson affair with high-octane action that is incredibly well portrayed. This entry to the series throws together a thriller with assassins and spies while a plot to kill the President acts as the instigator. Sure, it's a little bit cheesy and dramatic, but it's nonetheless a cleverly cultivated cocktail with all those bad calories we enjoy so much.

There's a little disjoint and frustration when the authors try to confuse the reader in regards to the bad guys and their identities. Confusion is probably the intended goal, but for me it's sloppy and ineffective. It doesn't last long, though, and Patterson and Ledwidge soon clear things up with some scintillating stuff that twists the story into a tale of revenge and vendettas.

To round it off we're offered a phenomenal culmination of events. Yeah, the overall answers are a little bit of a cop-out, but the epic end is action-packed and full of that nummy adrenaline.

Pace - 4.5/5 Stars

A NASCAR racer has nothing on this novel. Bullseye is a slick suspense story that races for its finale with organised chaos.

Characters - 3.5/5 Stars

The cast and their relationships are a little flat this time around, but it's not too severe. Michael Bennett is still a capable and often comedic protagonist that the reader loves. His family dynamics single him out from the crowd and offer an in-depth look at what drives Mr Morality forward. Development seems focused on his son Brian, who, along with friend Marvin, provides the family drama that offsets the main plot. 

Thankfully, romantic relations in this entry between Bennett and Mary Catherine are slim. Their on-again off-again relationship seems to be back in purgatory despite so many of the series' entries leaving them on a happy note. Sigh.

Families of assassins prove to be the novel's hit. Reading highly trained individuals battling it out with their wits and lives is always juicy storytelling.

Writing - 4/5 Stars

Bullseye contains not an ounce of nonsense. Patterson and Ledwidge keep things simple and clean. Scenes are vivid; chapters blend; character interactions are smooth; and the overall cohesion stays uncluttered. 

Overall - 4/5 Stars

Overall, a fine entry to the series. It's not going to blow your mind, but it sure as hell will blow your socks off. Fast and feisty with a healthy dose of utter insanity, Bullseye is on point with its thrills.

Previous Instalment: Alert
Next Instalment: Chase

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