Saturday, August 8, 2015

Alert by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Alert is the eighth book in the Michael Bennett series, and while they can be read independently you get the most enjoyment out of the series when you read them in order.  This review contains series ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the entire series.  I highly recommend that you read the series in order, starting with Step on a crack.

After spending time with Mary Catherine in Ireland, returning to New York feels like coming to Earth with a thud.  With Mary Catherine stuck on the other side of a very large ocean Detective Bennett quickly realises that she is the glue that really keeps the family together, and the grease that keeps the wheels turning smoothly.  Adjusting to the appearance of chaos is bad enough, but then an act of senseless destruction brings chaos to the city.  New York is no stranger to acts of terror - 9/11 is still burned into the hearts and psyche of the city - but terror comes in many shapes and forms and Detective Bennett and the rest of the NYPD have their work cut out for them as they try and find the culprit.

When the terrorists strike for a second time Detective Bennett feels the heat like never before, and he soon finds himself keeping some interesting company.  With a threat to the City and population of New York all the alphabet agencies are sending the troops in to support the NYPD and try and catch the "bad guys" - including FBI Agent Emily Parker.  Having history with Agent Parker makes it both a comfortable experience, and also uncomfortable - because Mary Catherine is so far away and because Agent Parker is seeing someone who sounds like they could be a substitute for Michael.  As the acts of mindless terror begin to mount up the tension and pressure also builds, and Detective Bennett soon finds himself under pressure and on the outside of a very public case.  With a deadline looming, Detective Bennett is going to find himself caught in the cross hairs more than once, and this may be the case that finally catches him.

I have devoured every book in the Detective Michael Bennett series - the books are slickly written with great chemistry between Patterson and Ledwidge.  Each book in the series builds on the events in the previous books, often jumping in straight after the action finishes, which can sometimes leave you scrambling to remember what happened in the book before  (or even the book before the book before).  Unlike a lot of detective series, the Michael Bennett books are a careful balance of action and detecting - this makes the series more appealing to readers who prefer a character driven story rather than one that gets bogged down too much in being clever.  I have to say that I like books that test your attention to detail and your ability to guess what happens next - rather than books that are too clever for their own good and test your ability to sort through masses of fake outs or obscure references.  Patterson and Ledwidge keep their books on point and keep the pace hot which is a very welcome treat.

This series will not appeal to everyone and this seems to be the book in the series, so far at least, that tips the balance to being an action novel with a touch of detecting rather than being balanced or a detecting book with some action.  It appealed to me, but some fans of the series may find it a little too far fetched because of some of the events that happened.  One thing is clear though - where on Earth can Patterson and Ledwidge take this series next?

If you like this book then try:
  • Step on a crack by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Run for your life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Worst case by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Tick tock by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • I, Michael Bennett by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Gone by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Burn by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • The edge of normal by Carla Norton
  • Eeny meeny by M.J. Arlidge
  • Pop goes the weasel by M. J. Arlidge
  • The surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
  • The apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
  • Kill switch by Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene
  • NYPD Red by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
  • Kill me if you can by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

Reviewed by Brilla

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