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Run for Your Life, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Read by Bobby Cannavale and Dallas Roberts
)


Mike Bennett, homicide detective and top hostage negotiator for the NYPD, is confronted with a psycho killer who calls himself "The Teacher" in this sequel to Step on a Crack. Killing people in broad daylight and making no attempt to do so without witnesses, the Teacher's mission is to rid the world of anyone who is obnoxious, arrogant or inconsiderate of others.

It has been almost a year since the death of Mike's wife, Maeve. Maeve and Mike had assembled a family of 10 racially mixed, troubled children aged four to 14, and now Mike is left to raise them alone, except for the help of his grandfather, Seamus, a parish priest, and an Irish nanny, Mary Catherine. After a botched hostage situation, Mike returns home to find most of his kids sick with a flu bug, but before he can trade one disaster for another, he is called back to headquarters to begin the hunt for the lone, crazy man calling himself the Teacher.

This is a thriller that will hold your attention from start to finish. The killer assumes many disguises and roles, but after each killing the witnesses all give the same physical description. The police have little trouble identifying the Teacher as a former airline pilot who has lost not only his job, but his wife and home. The terror and suspense develop when the Teacher begins a cat-and-mouse game with Mike, challenging him to hunt him down and stop him before he can harm Mike and his family. Patterson and Ledwidge have created another heartwarming story inside of a gripping thriller. The plot contains many twists and turns and will keep even the most alert and observant listener guessing until the end. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the final conflict between Mike Bennett and the Teacher will have listeners on pins and needles and holding their breaths waiting for its conclusion.

The audio production of this book is very effective because the two readers alternate between good guys and bad guy, and the listener is always alerted that the Teacher is about to strike when the reader changes. The fact that the co-authors bring Mike's home life into the story makes this a very special book. Even though Mike is a fearless, dominating force in the police department, he is anxious and unsure of himself at home, when dealing with raising his children. By describing the time that Mike spends at home, Patterson and Ledwidge show that Mike Bennett has the same problems that we all have. Although he devotes himself to his work, his ever present and touching love for his dead wife and for the damaged children they have gathered is evident. Hopefully the author will continue to bring back this group of characters in many more mystery thrillers.

John Mormon
3/27/09

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