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Ambush: A Detective Michael Bennett Thriller

Review

Ambush: A Detective Michael Bennett Thriller

The Michael Bennett novels comprise one of James Patterson’s most interesting series. This has been due in part to Bennett’s backstory, which consists of the balancing act between his personal and professional lives. Bennett, who heads up the prestigious Manhattan North Homicide Squad, is the father of 10 adopted children. He is aided in the latter task by his grandfather, Seamus, who is a Catholic priest, and Mary Catherine, who has evolved from au pair to Bennett’s fiancée. Accordingly, there is a bit of yin-and-yang tension in each of the books over the course of the extended story arc.

AMBUSH, the latest installment and the second with worthy co-author James O. Born, is one of the best to date. The focus is less on a mystery and more on Bennett himself, who is the target of an extremely capable and dangerous assassin. Alexandra “Alex” Martinez is a Columbian assassin who has been tasked with removing Bennett from the board for a reason, which is revealed over the course of the book. Bennett is not Alex’s only target by any means, so there is plenty of mayhem to be found in these pages. However, explosions and bloodshed are not the only focus of the story.

"The focus is less on a mystery and more on Bennett himself, who is the target of an extremely capable and dangerous assassin.... AMBUSH provides enough action and twists to fill a couple of books."

Patterson and Born reveal that Alex is far more complex than her killing skills would initially indicate. Alex operates under a self-imposed code of conduct (which she will bend or even break if expediency demands), while the revelations regarding her personal life evoke a bit of empathy, if not sympathy, toward her. None of this, though, changes the fact that she is extremely dangerous. As Alex acquires and dispatches her targets on the streets of New York, Bennett realizes that he is in the crosshairs himself. One of Alex’s greatest strengths is her ability to blend in, so she is ultimately able to get to within striking distance of Bennett and those he loves, with potentially disastrous results.

Meanwhile, Bennett is faced with a personal crisis (in addition to his professional ones), when one of his children is seriously injured in an incident that may be a prelude to something worse. There is plenty of tension from beginning to end, with the promise of more --- much more --- in future installments.

AMBUSH provides enough action and twists to fill a couple of books, and even includes a short Michael Bennett story titled "Manhunt." The novella begins with a disastrous terror attack during New York’s Thanksgiving Day parade and pairs Bennett with Darya Kuznetsova, his enigmatic and interesting Russian counterpart. Such an attack cannot go unanswered, and part of the response involves Bennett and Kuznetsova in a race against time to capture the doer before he can strike again. The investigation results in some unusual alliances and ultimately sets up the possibility for a return appearance of Kuznetsova sometime in the future.

Patterson and Born, with two novels in one book, go above and beyond the goal of giving readers their money’s worth.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on October 12, 2018

Ambush: A Detective Michael Bennett Thriller
by James Patterson and James O. Born

  • Publication Date: October 8, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316273988
  • ISBN-13: 9780316273985