In this third book in Patterson’s Michael Bennett series, widowed detective and former hostage negotiator Bennett has transferred to NYPD’s major case division, which investigates high profile murders. He is already on a new case when a Columbia University student, who is also the son to a multimillionaire, is abducted on campus. The influential father even calls in the feds, so Bennett, much to his chagrin, is forced to partner with FBI agent Emily Parker. Fortunately, Parker’s good looks and smarts makes her easier for him to accept in his jurisdiction.
Francis X. Mooney, the man responsible for the crime, contacts the police to inform them that he is putting his victim through the ultimate exam. He is testing the kid’s social consciousness. What the police don’t know is that the wrong answer will cost the victim his life. Mooney sends Bennett and Parker on a wild gooses chase thinking that there is still a chance they can save this kid, but when they arrive on the crime seen, they are too late.
Before Bennett and Parker can even begin to examine Jacob Dunning’s case, another girl goes missing. In fact, it seems as there are a rash of abducted college students where the killer follows the same patterns by putting them through some kind of test. Aside from the fact that they are all rich, there seems to be very little in common between the victims. Bennett is baffled at why the victim’s financial situation is even relevant since Mooney isn’t demanding ransoms in exchange. And if he has no demands, how will they stop ever be able to negotiate the victim’s release?
The last Micheal Bennett book was a bit disappointing, but Worst Case is definitely a stronger offering in the series. Added to the thrills is a subplot involving Bennett and a romantic interest in both Emily Parker and his live-in nanny, Mary Catherine. Readers must not read the books in order to know what is going on. Michael Bennett should gain many new fans in Worst Case, and I can’t wait for the next book!