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Whenever I pick up a James Patterson book, I pretty much know what to expect from it. Shallow chapters glossing over what might or might not be a slightly deeper plot, with characters that come and go ridiculously quickly. You can easily read a JP book in a day. Depth is not his style.
I, Michael Bennett focuses on the titular character, a police detective with a penchant for adopting kids. A single father after the death of his wife to cancer, he has a dozen kids, a live in nanny and an old Irish relative living with him. It's all very strange. What's even stranger is that the book flicks between the semantics and logistics of this element and the latest drugs baron and criminal in court Perrine, a Mexican caught on American soil but not without killing a number of people including Bennett's partner and best friend Hughie.
So, we've got the revenge on a personal nature down early on, but what JP does for the rest of the book is continue to portray Perrine as a man with a reach far beyond the walls of his prison cell, as elements of his trial are scuppered at each turn. The death of a judge, an attack in the courtroom, and even a failed attempt on the lives of two of Bennett's kids aren't enough to stop the pursuit of justice. I get frustrated reading a book like this, because not only has to be suspended, but you only get half of the story half the time. There's a lot missing here, and so much just isn't explained or followed up on that it makes you double check to make sure you haven't forgotten anything or read so fast that you've missed a key element.
Similarly, the build up towards the end of the book is very disappointing. Usually, you get a build up, some intense action and a twist that although predictable is somewhat convoluted and one that punctures clues along the way throughout the book. Here though, the clues are missing and the ending is drab. It just finishes, very fast, with an unsatisfactory end that's a bit of a cop out. I wonder whether this has been done because there is a sequel - if not then it's one of the worst endings to a book ever, since the whole 'and then they woke up and realised it was all a dream' that you used in school.
The characters really don't get enough time to develop here, despite the fact that there are over 500 pages in the story. A lot of it is quite big text to be honest, so there would be less pages in many books, but even so I figured there's be more development than you get. You do get the sense of family importance from Bennett's clan when they're away at their beach house, but there are just too many kids to have a clue who is who. Mary Catherine, the live in help, is done quite well, but really the two main characters you're after are Bennett and Perrine, and really you could be looking at any hero and any villain. The former wants to be the funny quipper detective with a bit of an ego (read Alex Cross!) and the latter fits the bill for every megalomaniac villain from any film or book ever.
Not the best JP book I've ever read, in fact one of the worst. I just felt the whole thing was glossed over: there are a lot of words and an extremely shallow story. Dsiappointing.