I, Michael Bennett Review
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Each James Patterson fan has his or her own favorite series—whether it’s the author’s long-running Alex Cross series, his Women’s Murder Club books, or one of his series for kids. My favorite is the Michael Bennett series, which blends edge-of-your-seat action with plenty of family drama. In the latest installment, I, Michael Bennett, Patterson and co-author Michael Ledwidge manage to ratchet up the suspense while building on the family drama—but, in the end, it’s still missing something important.

NYPD Detective Michael Bennett has hunted down his share of bad guys, but Manuel Perrine might be the biggest, baddest, and most dangerous bad guy yet. The smooth but oh-so-vicious head of a Mexican drug cartel, Perrine is reportedly on his way to New York, and Bennett is involved in the massive multi-agency plan to bring him in. Bennett gets his man, but his childhood friend and colleague, Hughie, is killed in the process.

As the Bennett family and their long-suffering nanny, Mary Catherine, travel to the country for a long, relaxing summer vacation, Perrine’s trial begins, and he makes it very clear that he will pull out all the stops to make everyone involved in his arrest—judges, cops, and especially Bennett and his family—suffer.

Like the previous books in the Michael Bennett series, I, Michael Bennett is a non-stop page-turner, combining the action and suspense of the Perrine case with even more family drama than usual, as the Bennett family becomes the target of a cold-blooded killer.

Bennett’s blended family—which includes 10 adopted kids, their pretty Irish nanny, and their eccentric grandfather, Father Seamus—has always been a highlight of the series. Though the family has never really played a major part in the story, they’ve always added plenty of heart (and the occasional light humor) to what could have been just another above-average crime thriller. This time, though, they get pulled into the action, as the crime lord’s plans for revenge extend beyond Mike to affect his kids, too. And the added threat to the Bennett family makes the suspense all the more intense.

Meanwhile, Patterson and Ledwidge successfully blend a number of storylines—including Perrine’s case, Mike’s decision to help a nearby town battle their gang problem, and the somewhat frustrating will-they-or-won’t-they relationship between Mike and Mary Catherine (which is once again sidetracked by yet another case—and yet another beautiful woman)—to keep the pace speeding right along. It moves so quickly, in fact, that you might be stunned when you suddenly find yourself at the last page.

Of course, there will be another reason for your surprise at reaching the last page of the book: because, when you get there, you’ll find that absolutely nothing has been resolved. We’re not talking about a thrilling cliff-hanger ending here—the kind that hints at more action to come. Instead, the book simply seems to end in the middle of the story—just when things are getting really exciting. Suddenly, it just stops, leaving readers to wonder whether they ended up buying a copy that was missing the last 50 pages.

Granted, the action and drama—all left wide open in the end—will leave you eager to see what happens in the next book in this worthwhile crime series, but I, Michael Bennett definitely won’t leave you feeling satisfied.

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