Worst Case by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

January 3, 2014

worst case Plot summary (from the publisher): Best case: Survival
The son of one of New York’s wealthiest families is snatched off the street and held hostage. But this kidnapper isn’t demanding money. Instead, he quizzes his prisoner on the price others pay for his life of luxury . . . and wrong answers are fatal.

Worst case: Death
Detective Michael Bennett heads the investigation. With ten kids of his own, he can’t understand what could lead someone to target anyone’s children. When another student from a powerful family disappears, the FBI sends in its top abduction specialist: Agent Emily Parker. Bennett’s job and love life suddenly get even more complicated.

This case: Detective Michael Bennett is on it
Before Bennett has a chance to protest the FBI’s intrusion on his case, the killer mastermind changes his routine. His plan leads up to the most devastating demonstration yet-one that could bring cataclysmic ruin to every inch of New York City.

Warning: Spoilers below!


  • In thrillers, I usually don’t like detours into the investigators’ home lives, but Michael Bennett is always an exception. His 10 kids, crazy grandfather, and too-good-to-be-true nanny just somehow work for me and make these books a lot more fun.
  • I liked that Francis Xavier had the foresight to kidnap the kid of the NYSE head security officer. What better way to ensure getting past the otherwise impenetrable barricades than that?
  • It was good to see one of these serial killers actually follow through on his word to let someone go if they passed some arbitrary test. Sure, it was hardly likely that the high school girl Francis X grabbed would know the answer to all those questions, but whatever. I was happy to see something that was at least a bit different.


  • The killer’s frequent crying jags were beyond annoying. WTF was that all about? Was that supposed to show us that he was unbalanced? As if we needed any evidence beyond his kidnappings and killings.
  • What was the point of even hinting at a possible romance between the FBI agent (Parker)and Bennett? The Mary Catherine hookup had been telegraphed for a while, so the FBI agent thing was clearly not going anywhere.
  • Francis Xavier’s motive was dumb. He wanted to kill the scions of wealthy people so they would have no heirs and their vast fortunes would be left to charitable foundations? Unnecessarily convoluted and ultimately not very compelling.


As is fairly typical of James Patterson + co-author books, Worst Case chugged right along according to a familiar formula. There were no real surprises in this one, but no major flaws that made it unbearable, either. It was a decent entry in the Michael Bennett series, and I give it 3 stars out of 5.

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