By James Patterson with Andrew Gross
A sequel to 1ST TO DIE, this one definitely is a potboiler.
This Women’s Murder Club series gets more and more gripping with each offering it seems.
For those who don’t remember (or don’t know) The Women’s Murder Club consists of Lt. Lindsay Boxer of the San Francisco Police Department, reporter Cindy Thomas, assistant D. A. Jill Bernhardt, and medical examiner Claire Washburn. This highly-motivated women’s group solves the ghastly crimes of San Francisco.
This time the action tends to revolve around Boxer.
She is taking a break after resolving a case (from the previous book) and undergoing a personal tragedy. Her vacation is interrupted by the news of an eleven year old girl being shot, in a mad shooting spree in a local church, in downtown San Francisco. And she has to rush back.
With tremendous political pressure all around, (since it appears to be some sort of racially motivated killing) Boxer turns to her Women’s Murder Club to seek help. Things change hereafter.
The killer seems to have a much deeper motive. But the women have no clue except a symbol – “Chimera” representing the lowest criminal element within the state’s prison system.
Tracing back to a previous “suicide” case – where an African American woman hung herself, the presence of a “chimera” seems to be their clue. This woman was the widow of a former police officer of the San Francisco police department and in the new case, the uncle of the young girl was a cop too.
It is further revealed that Boxer’s dad, an ex-cop, is linked to the killer’s past and he re-appears after having deserted his family for about 20 years. Soon the women of the murder club become the next target.
This book has ample focus on the individual lives of the women in the club. You begin to love and care for them. Boxer’s past that disturbed her deeply is brought to light. It is good to know the female POV on the crimes – lending it an emotional touch.
I particularly liked the fact that in this book more light was shed on the personal lives of the murder club women making us care for them, and allowing us to relate to them as individuals who, in spite of their smartness, are as vulnerable as anybody else.
Lindsay’s personal story is highlighted by her having to come face to face with her dreaded past. A seamless interaction is exhibited between her past and the present through her father. She continues to face her share of life threatening moments and has her loved ones by her side to rely on.
The characterization is realistic and strong. The plot is tight. The dialogues are sparkly. The chapters are short. The mystery is gripping. A spray of false leads and twists and weird clues make this a page-turner.
Again, JP’s signature style of writing – short sentences and short chapters, with different POVs, make this a fast paced and an easy read. Co-authored with Andrew Gross, the story does dip in some places. But yes, I overlooked those.
Patterson’s Alex Cross series and The Women’s Murder Club series (mostly) deliver what they promise – a good chilling thrill. It keeps you on the guessing (almost) to the very end. The series is addictive. Somewhat like the Alex Cross series.