Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Review: 12th of Never by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Women's Murder Club #12)

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Fun and fast while reading
Cons: Too many plots – all but one underdeveloped
The Bottom Line:
Chasing many plots
But no real detective work
Fast, fun but empty

I Wouldn’t Say Never to the 12th Women’s Murder Club Book But Don’t Rush Either

If there’s one series I keep reading despite myself, it’s the Women’s Murder Club books by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.  The series is so hit or miss.  Some I enjoy, and some I find to be deeply flawed.  Unfortunately, 12th of Never falls into the deeply flawed category.

The series follows four women who have formed an unlikely friendship as they work to solve cases in San Francisco.  In the early books, they actually worked together to solve one big case, but that has flown out the window books ago and now we get two or three stories per book minimum.

Lindsay Boxer is finally her mother.  She’s had a baby girl in the middle of a storm.  While she is out on maternity leave, the rest of the Women’s Murder Club is busy with cases.  ADA Yuki is trying the case of a scumbag laywer accused of killing his wife and daughter.  Reporter Cindy is covering a case that also involves coroner Claire – a fashion designer who happens to be the girlfriend of a football player is murdered, but her body disappears before the autopsy.  Then there’s Rick, Lindsay’s partner in homicide, who is dealing with a professor who thinks he is dreaming about murders before they happen.  It sounds crazy, but is there something to it?  Lindsay is going to be very busy when she comes back to work.

Or she would be busy if something other than pure chance were involved.  Unfortunately, there is very little detecting in the course of solving anything here.  One case actually involves interviewing suspects and gathering clues.  The rest?  The info needed falls into the laps of our heroes eventually.

Keep in mind that I only highlighted a few of the stories here.  There are at least two more plot lines playing out over the pages.  As a result, one of the cases gets dropped as is wrapped up as an after thought.

And I’m sure it’s not surprising that we don’t truly get to know the characters any better than in previous books.  If you already know and love them, you’ll enjoy seeing them again.  But if you jump in here, you won’t get a sense for them.  They don’t act out of character, but they also don’t display too much personality.  The plot is just too strong for that.

Yet, I did enjoy the book when I was reading it.  The chapters are short and the 400 pages just flew by.  Frankly, I think that’s one reason I keep reading the series.  I get the books from the library and read them in just a couple of days.  However, as I thought about the book after finishing it last night, I started to realize just how flawed it truly was.

The book does end with a cliffhanger.  It will be interesting to see how that is resolved in future books.

And I do plan to continue reading the series.  While I wish 12th of Never were stronger, it is like junk food - pleasant while going down but not all that nutritious or likely to stick with you after you are done.

Here are the Women's Murder Club Mysteries in order.

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