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Run For Your Life    by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge order for
Run For Your Life
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Run For Your Life, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (who also wrote The Quickie together), is a sequel to Step on a Crack. In the latter, they introduced Irish American widower Michael Bennett and his rather chaotic lifestyle as an NYPD Homicide Detective and sole provider (after the death of his mourned wife Maeve from cancer in the first book) for a family of ten multiracial adopted kids, aged four to thirteen.

As the story opens, Bennett is doing his job, negotiating with a young and violent sociopath, who's holding his own family members hostage. When that situation goes south, he heads home to find three of his own kids - 'like looking at an outtake from The Exorcist while you were seeing triple' - in the throes of projectile vomiting, supported by their Irish nanny, Mary Catherine. As the story progresses, we see Bennett trying to make sense of the doings of a crazed killer who calls himself The Teacher on the job, while dealing with further volcanic gastrointestinal outbreaks - and 'puke by the gallon' at home.

Though his motivation remains puzzling till late in the story, The Teacher is enraged. He has a mission and no shortage of resources. He carries out a series of executions in a variety of guises, crossing each name and location in turn off his list - from the Ralph Lauren store to the 21 Club and the Platinum Star Hotel. While The Teacher keeps busy, the Commissioner himself summons Mike Bennett back to work (from a personal day) to head the team dealing with these psycho assaults on the city. Despite run-ins with Times police reporter Cathy Calvin, Mike makes progress - and even ends up IMing his opponent, who threatens him personally.

As always in a Patterson thriller, the tale continues in short chapters that tightly hold readers' interest as they alternate action and violence with Bennett's Chicken Soup for the Soul family moments. As the NYPD Homicide Detective races against time to stop the killer's grand finale, The Teacher decides that he needs a lesson too, one that strikes close to home. Thriller fans will rush to read Run For Your Life.

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