Step On a Crack
By James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
It’s almost Christmas. A former first lady is poisoned while dining with her husband in a high-profile New York restaurant. Of course her funeral, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is attended by thousands of mourners, especially by government leaders, businessmen, celebrities, VIPs and “who’s who” of the city. And then there is a twist. A group of kidnappers strike taking all of them hostage. They release everyone but 35 of the big shots in order to extort money.
A few blocks away, an over worked hostage negotiator for NYPD, Michael Bennett, and his ten (adopted) kids are by the bedside of his terminally ill wife, Maeve.
He is called in to begin negotiations with the kidnappers. He takes the lead and starts negotiating with Jack – the leader of the kidnappers. Jack comes across as a cold, ruthless and cunning man. With the media and officials hovering all around, Bennett continues the negotiations. The talks span over hours and days and Maeve succumbs to Cancer.
As Bennett and the officials devise plans to rescue the hostages, they get help from the outside, by the Neat Man, an obsessive-compulsive man who must always be clean.
With an intriguing setup and plot, the readers discover the truth behind the kidnapping and the revelation of the villain behind it all.
James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge have portrayed the character of Detective Michael Bennett with finesse. He is shown coming to terms with his wife’s death at an untimely hour and his concern for their ten kids viz-a-viz the present danger lurking on the city. The real life situations in the plot make the plot ‘believable. The protagonist is shown as a strong character yet sensitive whose faith is being tested with a platter full of worries bestowed on him (in his personal and professional front).
The other characters (hostages) are entertaining; the suspense is well played upon; the kidnappers were a bit predictable; overall Step on a Crack is a simple yet engaging read. Big fonts, short chapters, ample of spacing and a fine plot makes it a well crafted novel by Patterson and Ledwidge.