Step on a Crack Review
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In his latest thrill ride, Step on a Crack, James Patterson introduces readers to his newest character—Michael Bennett. A detective for the NYPD, Mike’s work is only just beginning when his shift ends—because that’s when he goes home to his 10 adopted kids.

Christmas is just days away—but Mike isn’t feeling especially festive this year, since he’s just found out that his wife, Maeve, is nearing the end of her battle with cancer. If it weren’t for his grandfather, Seamus, and his new au pair, Mary Catherine, Mike doesn’t know how he’d survive. Little does he know, though, that things are about to get even worse.

At the former First Lady’s star-studded funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a group of armed men disguised as monks storm the event, taking a group of politicians, athletes, actors, and other prominent figures hostage. After the NYPD’s lead negotiator fails to connect with the captors, Mike, who once worked as a hostage negotiator, is called in to take over, fielding calls from the guy in charge—a man who identifies himself only as “Jack.”

As negotiations continue, it seems as though Jack knows all of Mike’s moves before he even makes them—and Mike begins to wonder how he’ll be able to get the celebrity hostages out of the cathedral before Jack starts killing them one by one.

James Patterson never ceases to amaze me. While my English degree and my editor’s eye for detail can’t help but notice his annoying overuse of italics and exclamation points to add drama and excitement, the reader in me can’t help but love him. Once I pick up one of Patterson’s books, there’s no putting it down. Because, grammatical quirks aside, Patterson has a knack for writing action that moves faster than the speed of light. He can make 400 pages feel like 50.

Patterson’s newest character is a likeable one—and his situation seasons the thriller with plenty of drama. I look forward to seeing where Patterson takes Mike, his 10 angelic kids, and his gruff Irish priest of a grandfather in upcoming books. The first installment of the Bennett series, however, isn’t Patterson’s strongest. Though the story is still every bit as engrossing as you’d expect from the best-selling author, some of the plot twists aren’t all that surprising (one of them, for instance, was just used in an early-2006 movie), and the conclusion isn’t especially rewarding.

As far as James Patterson novels go, Step on a Crack isn’t one of the best of the best. But in the grand scheme of crime thrillers, however, it’s still better than most. It’s worth a few days of your spare time—if only to get in at the beginning of the Bennett series.

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