Book Review: First To Die (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson

What you should know.

James Patterson has sold many books and has many fans.  This book is the first of the 17 Women’s Murder Club series novels.  Book number 17 The 17th Suspect was published this year.

I prefer to read mystery genre.  I enjoy historical fiction.  I’ve found dystopian science fiction and fantasy fun too.  We all have our preferences.  How do I measure quality mystery?  Read anything by John D. MacDonald and you will know my idea of quality.  The story surrounds a female homicide detective in San Francisco and three women whom she confers with regarding an investigation.  The four women form her unofficial murder club.

What I liked

Four professional women meeting and brainstorming a difficult criminal investigation.  What’s not to like about that?  The setting is San Francisco, which I know very little about.  Either it’s not a very fascinating location, or the author has failed to capture it in a manner that has enthralled me.  I like the fact that it has potential so I’ll leave it there for now.

The plot keeps you guessing, and you can guess right yet still enjoy the story.  That means the writing is fairly satisfying in it’s own right.  The protagonist, Inspector Lindsay Boxer, is a well fleshed out character.  However, as told through her first person perspective, I did not get to know enough about the other three female characters (there were actually four others).  I did like them.  They were written to be likeable.

The relationship between Lindsay and her partner John Raleigh was great.  I could get into any number of cases involving these two and appreciate how they approach challenges.  Very refreshing.

What I didn’t like

I did not accept the author’s premise for the John Raleigh character at all.  It was a terribly simplistic view of life.  It did not work at all for me.  So I can’t see any point in reading anymore books in this series.  Sorry.  Something else that really bothered me.  Why in so many police mysteries are the cops all good – like this one – or completely bad? Can’t anyone write a mystery where the cops are mostly good accept for a few exceptions?  That would be too realistic I guess.

The ending.  If there was any possibility at all that I would read another Women’s Murder Club novel, the ending guarantees that will not happen.  Too bad for me.  The idea of these four women supporting each other in their professional ambitions and their personal struggles, is such a good one.  I will miss out since I think this first one misses the mark.

 

Recommendation:  Maybe Read

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