Big honking bestseller

Step on a Crack by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
I confess: I picked this puppy because John Slattery is one of the readers of the audiobook. And I love John Slattery, even/especially when he’s being the horrible—yet wildly entertaining and therefore wonderful—Roger Sterling on Mad Men.

(Yes, you have just witnessed a shameless Reading Madly plug!)
Also I picked it because I’d never read anything by James Patterson, and probably there’s a law against a public librarian never having done so.
And while I suspect this book would not have worked so well for me as an actual (printed) book… as an audiobook, it was fabulous.
Why, you may ask, is that?
Well, first of all, we’ve got the Slattery effect. And he’s brilliant at reading the character of Mike, the smart-aleck police officer.
Next, it’s the kind of story that’s set up to hold your attention. And for some reason, suspense novels work for me as audiobooks even when they’d never work as books-to-read-with-my-eyes. I think it’s the whole nature of hearing a story told to you. There’s something about that.
Also, since I tend to listen to audiobooks when I’m exercising, I can work off all that nervous tension that builds up in me when reading suspense novels. I’m a skittish thing.
So, here’s the quick plot summary (without any big secrets revealed): A NYC police officer named Mike Bennett (husband to Maeve, who’s dying of cancer, and father of 10 children—so there’s so stress in his personal life whatsoever) is called to the cathedral where a former First Lady’s funeral was underway. Some bad, bad guys have hijacked the funeral and taken high-profile hostages. So Mike gets to talk to the hella creepy guy, Jack (wonderfully voiced by Reg Rogers), who seems to be calling the shots.
Now, I don’t know if this is Patterson or his co-author Ledwidge, but there are some nice bits of dialogue and turns of phrase in this book. (Sorry, Mr. P.; I may have mis-under-estimated you.) And at two points I even almost teared up. (At the track. Dear God.)
This thing’s a great blend of good (Mike and Maeve and their family) and evil (Jack and The Neat Man), and fast-paced, adrenaline stuff (all that hostage business) mixed with cozy, comforting, yet chaotic, family life.
I now get why this Patterson series hits the top of the bestseller lists from time to time.
Audiobook read by John Slattery and Reg Rogers; 7 hours

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