Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | June 13, 2008

Reading: “Step on a Crack” by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

One of my judgment factors of a novel is how “high” on my priority list is finishing it to me. This book became pretty high ( I finished it in 1 1/2 weeks ).

The cover states “First came Alex Cross… Now Meet Michael Bennett” and I’m glad I met Michael Bennett.

The novel intertwines a high profile hostage situation that takes place during a “state” funeral for an ex-presidents wife in which Homicide Detective Bennett is the hostage negotiator with the backdrop of his wife’s battle with cancer and the raising of his 10 adopted children. The fact that the setting is Christmas made it a little ‘over-dramatic’ but did add to the sometimes palpable misery you could feel in the character.

What I liked about the Bennett character is that he’s written as an everyday kind of guy, not a super-hero. Unlike the Cross character who is a world renown psychiatrist, author, and law enforcement officer; Bennett seems like the guy that plugs away at his job everyday, trying to be a good husband and father to his children.

I really liked the Alex Cross series, the twists and turns were wonderful to experience, but the Bennett character resonates a more ‘gritty yet fragile’ personality, making him in some respects even more likable.

The twists at the end, lacks some of the ‘punch’ that later developed into other Patterson novels, but this definitely is worth a read. The constant intrigue of how do the Kidnappers plan to escape, reaches a really interesting and unexpected finally. Which may be the books only downfall, the climax happens with a 14 chapters left (short chapters, novel has 114), the rest feels like just mopping up loss ends.

I will definitely put any future Bennett novels on the “Must Read in Genre” category until we see where the characters goes. Some future development of Grandpa Seamus and the unexpected Au Pair Mary Catherine characters could give this series a life that could surpass the Cross Novels, though it may never have the “heroic” punch to get feature films out of it.

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