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Worst Case
By James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

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Worst Case

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Worst Case
By James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
Read by Bobby Cannavale, Orlagh Cassidy, and John Glover
Hachette Audio, (2010)
An Unabridged Recording on 6 CDs
ISBN: 978-1-60024-784-2
Genre: Mystery, Thriller


Reviewed by Israel Drazin - February 19, 2010

A learned professor and author of philosophical non-fiction books told me that she reads philosophy, history and science books, but turns to Harlequin romance novels for relaxation. James Patterson's crime novels are a step or two above these books. I started Sue Grafton's U is for Undertow after finishing Worst Case and it seemed like a Dostoevsky classic in comparison to the Patterson-Ledwidge work; yet, Worst Case is interesting.

This is the third time that Patterson joined with Ledwidge for a detective Michael Bennett book. This one is far from the "Worst Case," it is the better of the three; better writing and drama and frequent humor.

Bennett, a widower and father of ten multi-racial children and grandson of a quirky priest, is on New York's worst case squad. He leads the investigation into the kidnapping of children of wealthy influential parents by a skillful murderer who doesn't seem interested in money, and doesn't seem to make mistakes. Bennett is joined by an attractive FBI's Abduction Specialist, Agent Emily Parker. Bennett is pressured by the mayor's office and the press to solve the case and is constantly provoked by the kidnapper/murderer who is able to find him and call him at will. Bennett's life is complicated by his many good humored but aggressive children, his offbeat grandfather, the sexual attraction he feels toward divorced Emily Parker and the jealousy of his long-time house keeper.

When a college student is kidnapped and the kidnapper demands a ransom of five million dollars, Bennett wonders if this is a copycat crime or the first two kidnappings were an intentional prelude to this crime. Which is it? Will the kidnapper kidnap more kids? Why is he doing it? Roman Catholicism pervades the story, including the threat of a disaster on Ash Wednesday. What is the connection of Catholicism and the kidnapping? Readers will find the development of the solutions interesting.


Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.


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