Top critical review
Another James Patterson Mike Bennett Novel. Okay, but NOTHING Special
October 8, 2018
That rare person who actually follows my reviews will be taken aback to learn that I didn’t enjoy this latest Patterson story. Although GREAT seldom describes a Patterson tale, I usually enjoy them. Especially the Mike Bennett series, which requires just a little explanation. I had three good friends in school. Two of them have passed on – Mike Woodall and Norman Marsh. The third, my best friend in high school, was named Mike Bennett. I’ve searched for him since about 1980, but can find hide nor hair of him.
Yes, I know, that has nothing to do with this book. It does, though, show why I was first attracted to this series and partly as to why I read it. Unfortunately, this latest novel did not measure up, despite a promising, engaging opening sequence.
After drawing me in to the scene in which the two detectives, without backup, are about to make a drug bust, I felt as if I were reading a very good police procedural. A few pages later, I wanted to toss the book into my round file. Doing so, though, would probably irritate my wife, because my iPad costs some serious bucks. Even if the iPad were free, though, the Kindle edition sells for a premium, $14.99, so, instead of tossing it, I slogged on. I’m glad I did, because it did improve to a three star rating. Now, on with some of the particulars.
POV: First person. Normally, this makes for an especially interesting slant and moves the story into overdrive. Not this time, though. I felt like Mike was struggling to keep me listening to his voice.
BLUSH FACTOR: There are mild profanities, but no “f” words. While I probably would not read aloud to my prayer group, if I were in one, I would have no issues reading to teens or the elderly.
ACTION: Yes, there is a good deal of action.
THE WRITING: Take a glace over the excerpt to get a feel for Patterson’s style. It feels less natural and more, uh, obligatory than it should, to me.
CHARACTER: We have a familiar character. Trouble is, I didn’t see any new dimensions to him, outside of his relationship with his son, Brian. It is that, which did help improve the story, but it could have been so much better…
EDITING: This is professionally edited, so there are no great issues here.
‘…Alex slid onto an empty stool at the end of the bar with no one near her. She ordered a glass of 2010 Carmignano from the thin bartender, whom she recognized. He gave her a quick smile and even managed to wink his drooping right eye.
After she ordered her favorite dish, the roasted veal chop with fennel and vegetables, she relaxed for the first time all day. She liked the comfortable atmosphere of the bar. Sports memorabilia hung high on the walls. A bat from Derek Jeter over the door. One of Wayne Gretzky’s hockey sticks from his last game as a New York Ranger behind the bar.
She sipped her wine and thought about her life back in Colombia. That was where she wanted to be. In the open spaces, with people who loved her. Not in a crowded, dirty city with people she was paid to kill.
She was a little bothered that she couldn’t find the information she needed to close her contract on Michael Bennett. The Mexican cartel liaison she dealt with, who constantly bragged about his contacts, wasn’t able to help her, either. She learned a new lesson about depending on the cartel’s contacts. She hadn’t developed her own for this job and was in the dark. She didn’t like the feeling.
Her cartel contact knew only that one of the gunmen she had used was at NewYork–Presbyterian in the ICU.
Alex wasn’t going to let that ruin her night. She lingered…’
Patterson, James. Ambush (Michael Bennett) (Kindle Locations 333-343). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
If you enjoy the Mike Bennett series, you’ve probably already bought this book. It isn’t a waste of time, though, so go ahead and read it. Besides, maybe the fault is me. Maybe I’ve just read too many James Patterson novels lately. At any rate, I’ll be in line for the next in the series, but…
Three stars out of five.
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