Title: Run For Your Life (Michael Bennett, #2)
Author: James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date: February, 2009
Hardcover: 400 pages
Description: A calculating murderer who calls himself the Teacher is taking on New York City, slaughtering the powerful and the arrogant. Everyone is his potential student - from the loud-mouthed girl on her cell phone to the city's snooty upper crust. His message to them is clear: remember your manners or suffer the consequences. For some, it seems that the rich are finally getting what they deserve. For New York's elite, it is a call to terror.
There is only one man in the NYPD who can tackle such a high-profile case: Detective Michael Bennett. For anyone else, the pressure would be overwhelming, but Mike is ready to step up - taking care of his ten children has prepared him for the job. As the media frenzy escalates, all of Mike's children fall victim to a virulent flu bug - almost as challenging an assignment for Bennett as tracking down the killer.
A secret pattern emerges in the Teacher's lessons, leaving Detective Bennett just a few precious hours to save New York from the greatest disaster in its history.
My Thoughts: NYPD Detective Michael Bennett and his ten children are back in an intense, action packed thriller with Michael facing a grim reality. Raising his ten children as a single parent and cop is stressful enough, but as each child comes down with the flu, it appears Michael is burning the candle at both ends.
The story begins with a hostage negotiation that goes awry when the suspect is gunned down seemingly from out of nowhere. A woman blathering away on her cell phone is shoved into the path of an oncoming subway train. A salesclerk at a Ralph Lauren clothing boutique is murdered in cold blood in front of his coworker who is left alive. The maitre d’ at the 21 club is murdered in the middle of the afternoon during the lunch hour. An Air France stewardess is killed in front of her colleagues as she exits the elevator in her hotel. And there are more to come. The problem is Mike doesn’t know who is behind the killings and time is running out.
He gets a break when he learns that the killer, who has dubbed himself “The Teacher,” has contacted the media and Mike begins to put the puzzle pieces together. Unfortunately, The Teacher doesn’t appreciate Mike’s interference and may have to alter his plans to teach Mike a lesson.
I’m really enjoying this series on so many levels. The hero is a regular guy facing the challenges and struggles of life: stressful job and raising his family as a single father while mourning the death of his wife. He is portrayed as a “regular guy” and is very likeable. I feel great empathy for him and the aura of sadness around him, but he doesn’t wallow in self-pity, which makes the reader like him more.
I also liked Mike’s Irish nanny, Mary Catherine and his grandfather-turned-priest, Seamus. I am looking forward to future books to see if the chemistry between Mike and Mary Catherine turns into a romance.
The only problem I had with this story is the murder at the beginning of the story doesn’t seem to be resolved. We are led to believe that the shot was not fired by one of the police officers so who did it?
Otherwise, if you are looking for a book that delivers a high suspense story that keeps the reader riveted to each page wondering where the next “bullet” will strike and filled with characters you can feel connected to, then look no further than Run For Your Life. Run, don’t walk, to the book store and get this book. Your life doesn’t depend on it, but you will be glad you did.