I try hard to like James Patterson books. I really do.
But he just won’t be good consistently enough.
Michael Bennett is New York City detective, and any resemblance between him and Alex Cross is purely . . . copying success, because plenty of readers love the formula.
So, okay, Bennett is not a psychologist on the side (not that that plays much of a role in recent Cross novels anyway), he’s white and, in this book at least, his family is not in danger.
But he is a widower with a nanny who looks after his ten children. This is impossible to handle in one book. Yes, if readers love Alex Cross’s three children, they should really adore ten children, and Patterson works hard, but there’s not room enough in one novel to develop pictures of ten children even if he does sometimes make room for the actual plot.
But I couldn’t help thinking to myself — those poor children. How many of them are going to wind up in the hospital in future books? You can bet it’ll be a lot of them.
And when Bennett isn’t work the book’s ostensible real story, he has a private life, only Patterson doesn’t play fair.
Mary Catherine plays the nanny (that is, replacement for Nana Mama) who takes care of the ten kids while Bennett is out catching the bad guys.
I don’t know about other readers, but I immediately pictured her as a fifty-ish woman. She not described as young and attractive. We don’t understand that until Bennett finds himself making out with her.
As though their attraction was so sudden. Come on, he’s got a young beautiful nanny and he doesn’t even notice? What a lousy detective he must be.
We are shown Mary Catherine’s hostility to the attractive young FBI agent who comes to dinner, but while I still thought of her as in her fifties, I was as mystified as Bennett.
And I haven’t even gotten to the ridiculous storyline of a wealthy lawyer who, thanks to terminal lung cancer and nostalgia for his radical youth, decides he needs to use murder to get the world’s attention.
As though the cities and campuses of America were not already full of radicals who make most of us who demonstrated against the Vietnam War look like Young Americans for Freedom.
So I just could not believe in the villain or his ability to outwit law enforcement for so long, or to keep going despite his illness.
He’d undergone chemotherapy — that’s very tiring.
So all in all, it’s another James Patterson emotional excitement thriller with no underpinning of reality.
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