James Patterson's latest novel is a continuation of the story of New York City Police Detective Michael Bennett. This series is co-written with Michael Ledwidge and explores the problems that come with being a detective while trying to raise ten adopted children as a single parent. This blending of the criminal and the domestic makes for a fully satisfying story.
In Tick Tock Bennett is on vacation with his brood, his father Seamus, and the children's nanny Mary Catherine at a nearby beach resort. For those following this series we know that something special has been brewing between Mike and Mary Catherine and it continues in this book.
At the same time Mike is vacationing a killer is beginning to wreak havoc in New York City. It starts with a bomb planted in one of the city's libraries. Soon the city is virtually under siege as one heinous act follows another. Mike's main question is whether he is dealing with a lone maniac or several.
To help out, Emily Parker of the FBI comes to New York. This helps Mike professionally but hinders him personally as he and Emily have had a growing attraction between them as they worked on past cases. With things growing intense between him and Mary Catherine, Mike has the feeling he is back in high school and wondering who to ask to the prom.
The writers have created a true monster in this story. He is cold and calculating and intent on causing harm in the most terrible of ways. Also for some reason his actions against the city seem to be part of a personal vendetta against Mike. There is a lot of horror to sort through before the last page of this story arrives.
Once again this is a Patterson book full of short chapters and a lot of suspense. He maintains his staccato like way of writing and Ledwidge blends his assistance in seamlessly. You are helpless to find where one writer ends and the other begins.
Most of the subplots add to the enjoyment of the main plot but the one which involves some beach kids bullying Mike's kids seems superfluous. It is good to see Mike get involved in his kids' lives but it is a little distracting to the essence of the story.
One big plus in the writing is the use of humor. Mike is a great one for ad libs and asides. He has a smart mouth and even smarter thoughts that remain in his mind and aren't uttered through his lips. In a story this intense it is nice to have a healthy dollop of humor.
If you are a big Patterson fan then you will thoroughly enjoy Tick Tock. Patterson and Company continue to push out these books multiple times a year. As long as they stay as interesting and engrossing as this one is, they can do a book a month or more.
Tick Tock is published by Little, Brown and Company. It contains 387 pages and sells for $27.99.