by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge; Grand Central, 2010; 400 pages; $14.99
Anyone who is a lover of thrillers knows the name James Patterson. I’ve been an avid follower for years, and he’s been around just a little bit longer. The best part about reading a Patterson book is the suspense begins to build from the prologue. A good thriller should grab the reader’s attention within the first five to 10 pages, and Patterson has no problem with that. With decades of writing expertise, he has masterminded the art of keeping one’s attention. Another thing I enjoy about Patterson’s writing is the fast-moving experience of having tension mount with each chapter. By the time you have finished one of his novels, you may find yourself tired when the conclusion comes crashing down.
Worst Case is Patterson’s third novel with Michael Ledwidge. I love the irony, humor and the ambiguity of this book. The killer is an in-your-face, throw-out-political-correctness, twisted kind of guy. He bounces between sanity and being a downright thug. Michael Bennett, the lead cop, works a string of kidnappings along with FBI agent Emily Parker. They rush around like chickens with their heads cut off. Obviously, this does not make their brass happy. And makes them feel angry and inadequate.
Both are single parents. Emily is divorced with one child, while Michael is a widower with 10 adopted children. If you cut them, both will bleed red, white and blue. They adore their kids first, and jobs second, unless you tick them off. The killer’s ultimate downfall is when these two pit bulls of the police ruthlessly hunt, scurry and pound the streets for who and why.
But you can never quite get rid of the bad guy hiding in the back of your mind as you read. Here lies the irony. He spouts one thing, and then does the opposite. I found myself enjoying his eruptions to spew things most people want to say but do not have the guts. Unfortunately, he is one sick weirdo … highly intelligent, but over-the-edge eerie. He justifies every death to match his fanatical outbursts, and even though he knows it’s wrong to kill, he does not stop.
The other reason I am a fan is that each chapter is short and sweet, yet compacted with a good story. It holds its own beat to the drum. You will not get a headache, but you may tap your foot to hurry to discover the culprit.
Charlee Harris is a freelance writer in Anniston.