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The scene is set for a huge funeral in St Patrick's Cathedral in New York. The rich and the famous from all over America - and beyond - have arrived to honour a former First Lady after her sudden, unexpected death.
Then follows an attack that was three years in the planning. Hostages are taken - the ex-President among them - ransoms demanded, a couple of hostages shot to show the kidnappers mean business.
It's all brilliantly and chillingly co-ordinated, and Michael Bennett, the detective in charge of the case, knows it will be his biggest ever challenge.
Pop a bowl of popcorn, settle into a comfy chair and you might finish this combination thriller and tearjerker before the popcorn. Bestseller Patterson (Cross) and Ledwidge (The Narrowback) spin a fantastic tale of an audacious mass kidnapping and the unlikely detective thrust into the primary role of negotiator, sleuth and hero. Michael Bennett, a senior NYPD homicide detective, has a wife dying of cancer and 10 adopted children of various ethnic origins. When St. Patrick's Cathedral, site of the celebrity-packed funeral of a former first lady, is seized by a dozen ruthless men, Bennett ends up as point man for the hastily assembled negotiating team. From then on, the tale requires the reader to go with the flow as Bennett alternates visits to his wife's hospital bedside, brief trips to check on how his kids are managing and tense dealings with the well-prepared kidnappers. Short on credibility on the crime front, long on sentimentality on the home front, this book would be a good candidate for adaptation as a one-hour TV movie.