“This was no suicide,” says Detective Michael Bennett.
A man plunges to his death from the roof of a Manhattan hotel. It looks like a suicide–except the victim has someone else’s fingerprints and $10,000 in cash. Enter Detective Michael Bennett.
This book is one of several of James Patterson’s BookShots, which are proclaimed as “stories at the speed of life,” because they’re meant to be read in just a few hours. Leave it to me, however, to challenge that and end up taking longer than it should have, but at least I finished it. Anyway, this was my first foray (I love using that word, apparently) into the Michael Bennett stories, also written by James Patterson, so I didn’t know that this book is basically #9.5 in the series, but it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to have read any of the previous books to read this one because, as far as I know, Chase is able to stand on its own.
Right off the bat, we’re thrust into the action. Kind of. As with most, if not all, of Patterson’s works, his crime novels typically start the same way: with the victim doing something while being watched by the killer, and this usually takes up about two or three chapters (in this case, five) of the prologue before we get to meet our hero, Detective Michael Bennett. I actually have no qualms with how Patterson starts off his crime novels, truly. When it comes to these kinds of books, I like to feel as if I’m living on the edge of my seat, just waiting for the next thing to happen, and then the next… and the next… and, well, you get the point.
The victim is sitting at a hotel bar, waiting to meet someone, and then he realizes that he’s being watched. “Pretty Boy,” as the victim is called, decides to fight back when he recognizes who’s been watching him, why, and knows exactly why they’re there. He takes off running for the stairs, a chase ensues, and the victim ends up going Splat! on the pavement below, basically.
Now, we get into the actual story, and we meet Bennett in a classroom for Career Day, for one of his ten adopted kids, when he gets the call and has to bolt. He gets to the crime scene, procedures get done, he interviews the witnesses… the whole thing. You know how these books go. Turns out, the victim was already pronounced dead some years previous in a helicopter crash during deployment, so that leads Bennett on a wild goose chase, of sorts, to find out who this guy was and why he faked his death.
We get a road trip to D.C., Bennett meets up with a woman, FBI Special Agent Emily Parker, because she can get him access to places and people that he can’t, and it turns out to kind of be a bust. The first person he meets with can’t say anything, so he gets the runaround to someone else, and while it seems like the second person is willing to cooperate, she soon gets a phone call that changes her tune and she starts playing dumb. Bennett’s all set to go leave D.C. with his tail between his legs, until some stranger walks up to him and says something along the lines of, “I know someone who can help you,” while passing off a folded newspaper.
Then there’s the typical hero-gets-kidnapped-but-not-really, which amps up the action, and the conclusion is pretty predictable. It’s a great, fast-paced story that, if you’re a faster reader than me, could be read in under a day.
All in all, I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.