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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Run for Your Life by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (Michael Bennett, #2) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

He was the Teacher;

the world was his students,

and class was about to begin...

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Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 373
Chapters: 98 (Plus a prologue with three parts.)
Publisher: Century

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

Patterson and co-author, Michael Ledwidge, ramp-up their game for Run for Your Life. 

The story is crazy good, with extra helpings of action and intrigue; Michael Bennett is a captivating protagonist with a fascinating family dynamic; and the short, sharp chapters are like punches to the gut. There's very little not to love in this instalment to the character's series, so, if you're into simple, adrenaline-pumping thrillers, well, it'd be hard for me to believe you're not already reading Patterson.

SPOILER WARNING

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

The Teacher is here to teach New York a lesson.
A deadly lesson.
Detective Michael Bennett, jack-of-all-trades, is dragged in to pit his wits against the unstoppable killer.
But no one stands in the Teacher's way.
No one that wants to live, anyway...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

Run for Your Life blasts off right from the beginning. I was left mouthing 'whoa'. That's definitely how you start a thriller. From there on, Patterson and co-author heap mountains of tension, suspense and mind-boggling mystery onto your plate. The ambiguity of the case and extent of the killings really grabs your attention (I'm sure some part of me is awfully sadistic, what with the crazy scenarios I read), and it's a white-knuckle ride as we unravel the why, while wondering if we'll ever work out the who.

Continuing on from this entry's predecessor, Step on a Crack, the balance between Bennett's personal and professional lives is fantastic. The nice, homey feel of his family really bolsters the plot with heart, and the deadly, frustrating chase of a madman really contrasts well. It gets even better when the two worlds collide, and there will be no stopping until the conclusion is revealed. 

And that conclusion? Whoa, it literally takes off from the ground.

I am a little miffed that a certain case that starts the story isn't fully resolved. It's not a necessity for the core plot to take off, and really I think it was there just to give us a more whole feeling around Bennett's world, but I would have liked an answer.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

I only spent a few hours flying through this; standard for a Patterson novel.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

I still feel like a lot of the characters in this series are there just to fit a role, but, honestly, they fill them well. I might be a little more annoyed if our main, Michael Bennett, and our villain, the Teacher, weren't so brilliant, but, thankfully, they are. 

Bennett is definitely a jack-of-all-trades. Whenever the shi- poop, hits the fan, he has the experience of a whole range of situations that he's the number one choice. He's open, not afraid of his emotions, and he's moral to a fault. We do see a very angry side of him, a murderous side, in this entry; especially when his family - his ten adopted children - is put directly in the line of fire. Bennett will give anything, even his life, to stop danger from hurting them. 

What's fantastic about Run for Your Life - and it completely trumps Step on a Crack - is the villain. The Teacher is, initially, mysterious and deadly. He's far superior to the Neat Man from this book's predecessor. All you can wonder from his erratic behaviour is, is there a method to his madness? As the story progresses, and our bad guy's motive and history are revealed, it's wholly satisfying. There are clear, concise reasons behind his actions. A tantalising and capable character.

Writing - 5/5 Stars

Simple, informative and lightning-quick. 

It's not for everyone, though. Chapters are only a couple pages long, and while it heightens the immediacy, the simplistic and fast descriptions and events can feel empty to some.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

A more than decent follow-up in the Michael Bennett series!


Previous Instalment: Step on a Crack
Next Instalment: Worst Case


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