Sometimes you go to the movies just because you want to kill a couple hours. All you want to do is sit back with a big bucket of popcorn and be thrilled, titillated, excited, or to put it simply – entertained. You turn off your mind and just suck in the images. We call them popcorn flicks, but in this case you could call it a popcorn audio book. Step on a Crack, the latest from James Patterson/ Michael Ledwidge lays on a hefty dose of sentimentality but in the end delivers pure can’t-put-it-down (in this case, listen all the way through in one shot) style of entertainment.
Patterson puts away Alex Cross and, with the help of Michael Ledwidge, creates a new hero in senior NYPD detective and former hostage negotiator, Michael Bennett. Bennett is trying to get his family, which consists of his ten adopted children, through a difficult Christmas: Maeve, the family matriarch, is ill with cancer. But it wouldn’t be Patterson unless the quick chapters contained some thrills – and this one contains plenty. Bennett gets pulled away from his family when the funeral for the former First Lady at St. Patrick’s Cathedral turns into utter chaos when a group of men take everyone in attendance hostage.
Bennett is shoved into the hostage negotiation with the mysterious, evil man named Jack. Soon most of the people are let out, leaving only the famous as hostages: a pop music starlet, a beloved comedic actor, and even the Mayor of New York. Jack demands millions of dollars (and wants it fast), otherwise one by one the hostages will be killed. The family drama juxtaposed with the hostage crisis is compelling enough for fans of Patterson’s style. The audio production is on par with all his previous audio books, and music is used efficaciously throughout. The narrators, John Slattery and Reg Rogers, do an amazing job bringing life to Bennett and Jack. Overall, Step on a Crack is a non-stop thriller shaped in Patterson’s usual mold.