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Step on a Crack

by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

      The world is shocked and saddened by the sudden death of First Lady Caroline Hopkins, whose death was caused by her peanut allergy. A state funeral is to be held in St Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Attending the funeral are mourners famous and infamous from the political, industrial, financial and entertainment worlds.

These powerful people are held hostage within the cathedral by a group of terrorists lead by a ruthless man known only as "Jack". He demands millions from each of the remaining 34 hostages.

Authorities call in Detective Michael Bennett of the Manhattan North Homicide Squad, formerly of NYPD Hostage Negotiation, to negotiate with the hostage takers. Bennett has problems of his own. His beloved wife, Maeve, is dying of cancer which will leave him with the care of their ten adopted children of various heritages. While he struggles to cope with their care, he is rescued by the arrival of Irish au pair, Mary Catherine, sent by his mother. The hostage situation escalates with the killing of New York's mayor, one of the hostages. Bennett must find a way to rescue the remaining hostages and find the man behind the kidnapping before the situation becomes more deadly.

Patterson, with co-author Ledwidge, has created a bizarre kidnapping situation in the heart of Manhattan, with a sub-plot based on coping with a dying wife and a family. Michael Bennett's character is a sympathetic one. Our sympathies go out to him as he goes from the tense hostage situation to the heart-wrenching one with his wife. The ten children are obedient, well-trained, well-behaved and caring toward each other. Would that all children were this well adjusted!! The characters (rock star, talk show host, politicians, etc. ) are stereotyped and not developed.

Step on a Crack, well written in Patterson's usual short chapter style, is recommended for an evening's reading. It is an enjoyable, fast but forgettable read. This would make an excellent script for a two hour television program.

The Book

Little Brown & Co./Hachette Book Group USA
Feb 2007
Fiction / Suspense
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The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2007
© 2006