James Patterson’s “I Michael Bennett”: A Review With Michael Ledwidge

Publisher:  Little, Brown, and Company

Copyright:  2012

109 Chapters; 383 pages

I.  Murder Book Summary

Forbes lists him as one of the wealthiest men on earth.  Law enforcement lists him as one of the most ruthless drug lords on the planet.

He is linked to approximately 700 murders in the past 3 years.  His enemies run to the witness protection program at the mere mention of his name.  If they don’t, they end up dead.

He has ordered the assassination of U.S. border patrol agents and their entire families.  Even a sitting judge is not immune to his violence.

Police officers who oppose him are shot dead in the streets.  His fellow criminals in the drug business fear and respect him.

His name is Manuel “The Sun King” Perrine.  He is the ruler of the infamous “Tepito” drug cartel.  His escape from a Mexican jail has led to a wild shoot-out on the streets of New York City.  And now, he has ace detective, Michael Bennett in his cross-hairs.

With the aid of his psychotic bodyguard Marietta, Perrine has murdered Bennett’s best friend and co-worker, and has escaped custody from a Manhattan lock-up.  He has accomplished this in the midst of a trial that was supposed to send him to the lethal injection chamber.

Detective Bennett, a 20 year veteran of NYPD, has the audacity to challenge “The Sun King”, even to the point of breaking Perrine’s nose during a confrontation.  Doesn’t Bennett realize who he’s dealing with?  If not, Perrine will surely show him in some of the most gruesome ways imaginable.

Michael follows leads of escalating gang activity, from the gleaming towers of Manhattan, to the rustic beauty of Upper New York State.  As he hunts, he hears of fellow cops, and an assistant D.A., being killed.  Even members of his own family are threatened and assaulted.

Who’s really stalking who anyway?

Although Bennett has the cooperation of law enforcement officials across the entire North East, Perrine seems to out-fox Bennett at almost every turn.  Even when seemingly trapped in his hide away in the North Country, Perrine escapes, although not without paying a terrible price.

At the end of the day, it is Detective Bennett, his nanny, Mary Catherine, and his entire family who become the hunted.  But in a sense, it has been like this from the beginning.   Bennett only thought he was the hunter as he continually underestimated the power of the cartel.

II.  Judgment of this murder book:

What caught my attention early on in this thriller is the absolute pitiless nature of “The Sun King”.  Under the fine clothes and the genteel mannerisms, Manuel Perrine is a murdering psychopath.

But, unlike the average psycho, Perrine is blessed with near unlimited resources which allow him to kill at will, and get away with it.  And unlike other drug lords, he doesn’t limit himself by delegating his murderous impulses to underlings.  On special occasions he likes to participate personally.

It is most unsettling that this character is a mirror image of actual drug cartel rulers in operation today.  His actions are not entirely the result of Patterson’s artistic imagination.  Real life drug barons are just as powerful, influential, and lacking in human values as this fictional character.

And, in real life, impressionable young people, looking for easy money, are just as eager to follow and model themselves after thugs like “The Sun King”.

This is clearly a case of art imitating life!

On occasion, I had to put this crime thriller down.  Recent real life current events make some of the circumstances in the novel a bit predictable.  However, having some of those chilling incidents reproduced in the book and taking place in modern day New York City, was enough to reluctantly pull me back in.

I mean, judges being murdered in open court?  Can that really happen in New York?  It seems so far fetched.  But Patterson’s authoritative knowledge of modern law enforcement procedures, criminal organizations, and daily news reports, make you believe the impossible can indeed become a reality.

And maybe that’s what disturbs me about this book.  I think the theme of this crime thriller hit too close to home for me personally.  The thought of powerful cartels hooking up with U.S. based gangs and spreading drugs, violence, and death is distressing to me.

Maybe James Patterson and his co-author, Michael Ledwidge have done their work too well.  This murder book touches on some very serious hot-button issues in the U.S. today.

These include:

  • Drug dealing on a massive scale
  • Uncontrollable gang warfare spilling over into the civilian population
  • Murder of public and law enforcement officials
  • Guarding U.S. borders
  • Illegal immigration (I’m talking about criminal elements only)

Yes, the authors have written a good murder book.  It’s not a great one, but it is good.  If you’re a Patterson fan, then I don’t think you’ll be wasting your money.

I just wish that what Patterson and Ledwidge wrote about was less disturbing and more fictitious.

If you would like to obtain information regarding Michael Ledwidge, you can find it here.

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4 Responses to James Patterson’s “I Michael Bennett”: A Review With Michael Ledwidge

  1. Fallon says:

    You could certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  2. Gabrielle says:

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  4. Reg says:

    We have something in common. Two things, actually! Murder books, and Book Blogs. Glad you like what I’m doing.

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