"Worst Case" is the best case of collaboration between superstar James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge featuring Detective Michael Bennett to date. Third in the series (prior novels are "Run for your Life" and "Step on a Crack" - both fantastic reads), Michael Bennett and his ten adorable kids are back. And Patterson and Ledwidge have outdone themselves this time. I found it to be the best Patterson book I've reviewed so far, and Patterson always has me sitting falling off the edge of my seat.
That said, this novel catches and holds from page one. Bennett, a NYPD detective on the Special Investigative Division, is now new to the Major Case Squad, which investigates high profile bank robberies, art thefts, and kidnappings, and Bennett sees the worst.
A young medical student named Jacob Dunning has gone missing. His father is a high level CEO of Latrium and Company- with lots of money. Michael Bennett is called from his son's basketball game and sent by Chief Carol Fleming to the residence of April and Donald Dunning. As Bennett enters the palatial residence of the parents of the young man, the phone rings. Mrs. Dunning answers. "I have Jacob" a voice says. A recording of Jacob sobbing follows before the line disconnects.
Agent Emily Parker, FBI, is called into the strange obduction - there is no ransom demand. As the Dunnings wait with Detective Bennett and Agent Parker, their phone rings a second time. The voice speaks to Bennett and suddenly Bennett and Parker realize that Jacob is dead. The murderer leaves a clue from a T.S. Eliot poem suggesting that on Ash Wednesday, 3 days away, something more will happen.
So starts "Worst Case." The next victim is Chelsea Skinner. Her father is president of the New York Stock Exchange. The murderer tells them via phone where to find her body.
The kidnappings escalate - third is Dan Hastings, in a wheelchair - again the child of a wealthy and influential father. The 4th victim is released. Unhurt. And she has seen the killer's face. She relates that she had to answer a series of social questions by the kidnapper - and she passes.
As Bennett and Parker work full out to find the killer before Ash Wednesday, Bennett and Parker form an alliance.
At a furious pace, this novel runs with the wolves. Action, intelligence, social and political issues galore, with a fantastic plot and great writing - what's not to like? Another 5 for Patterson and Ledwidge.
Check out the NY Times Bestseller list for this one!
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