“Run for Your Life” is the second installment in the Michael Bennett series, which James Patterson launched in 2007. Michael Ledwidge, one of the many writers under the James Patterson brand, wrote “Step on a Crack” in 2007, getting the series off to a thrilling start. But “Run for Your Life,” which arrived in paperback this spring, fell flat.
Michael Bennett is an NYPD homicide detective with ten adopted kids. Yes, that’s an unusual premise. After adopting all those kids, who represent several different races, Bennett’s wife died. So he’s left to raise them on his own, with some help.
In “Run for Your Life,” Bennett goes after a serial killer who calls himself the Teacher. The targets are rich, pretentious people. I didn’t find him to be a particularly interesting villain, and the killings didn’t strike me as realistic in a place like New York City.
Of course, we can’t ignore those ten kids. Flu was running rampant through the Bennett household, so every few chapters we would check back into the disease zone, seeing who was getting sick, who was getting better, etc., etc. It was very boring. I found myself skipping over those chapters. The flu drama just didn’t interest me.
Then Ledwidge resorted to exactly the gimmick I feared: the family in peril. The Teacher comes after the Bennett kids.
Bennett, of course, gets his man, the family is safe, yada yada. But the book was a chore to get through, which is something I’ll rarely say about a James Patterson book.
I’m not sure what Patterson/Ledwidge can do in the future with all those kids. In a mystery/thriller, they just get in the way. But they are central to Michael Bennett’s life, so they must be included…somehow.