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Wednesday, August 24, 2016


4 stars out of 5

This one falls in the bad news/good news department. If you've loved the interaction between New York Detective Michael Bennett and his ginormous family (including elderly Father Seamus and Mary Catherine, the live-in nanny), you'll likely be disappointed. I admit to feeling a bit like that, but on the other hand, I've grown so weary of the is-it-or-isn't-it-real love affair between Michael and Mary Catherine that it was good news for me to not find much of that here.

The basic story is the identification, tracking down and arresting (or otherwise taking out of commission) of a pair of exceptionally skilled assassins. Some nasty target practice, it seems, was nothing more than a warm-up for their real target - the president of the United States. He's in Manhattan for a United Nations summit (other participants include Russian leader Vladimir Putin, so it's clear something really serious is going down here). In between are the typical turf wars with the police department, the CIA and Secret Service (yawn), lengthy chases that end in almost impossible escapes and the predictable dash to beat the assassins' lethal clock.

To be sure, there's plenty of action, but most of it happens on the killer end where everything was planned to the nth degree. On the police side, not so much; that they got anywhere at all in their investigation seemed more like happenstance than professional competence.

I should mention that there is a secondary plot here that relates to family, or at least one member of the large brood (son Brian) who's made friends with another kid (Marvin) who's temporarily moved into the Bennett household but whose background is spurious. The whole situation never quite gelled for me, and I'm still not sure why it was included at all.

Overall, though, I enjoyed this book, even if it is a bit off center in comparison with the others in the series. In the end, I admit to wavering between a rating of 3.5 stars and 4, but the good writing and relatively fast-paced action won out.

Bullseye by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Little, Brown and Co., August 2016); 339 pp.

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