Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review: The 6th Target by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Women's Murder Club #6)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Enjoyable stories and main characters
Cons: Non-intersecting plots and little character development
The Bottom Line:
Characters and plot
Rise above the flaws to make
This enjoyable

6th Target Juggles Three Plots

By this point in the series, it's rather obvious that the one thrilling plot of the first few books in the Women's Murder Club series are history.  The 6th Target is the third book in a row to feature multiple, unrelated stories.  But I still found the book quite fun.

If you happen to be new to the series, it follows the lives of four women as they use their friendships for support as they try to stop crime in San Francisco.  The main character is Lindsay, a homicide detective.  Her best friend is Claire, the medical examiner.  Cindy is a reporter.  And Yuki has just become an assistant district attorney.

It's just a normal November Saturday before a man opens starts shooting on a ferry.  Before he settles, four people are dead and Claire is left fighting for her life.  This also becomes Yuki's first big case in her new job.  Can she win it?

Lindsay, on the other hand, is trying to track down a missing kid.  The five-year-old was kidnapped from a park near her house and her nanny shot.  Where might she be?

Cindy has just moved into a new building.  But that might have been a mistake since violent things keep happening there.  Is one of her neighbors a madman?

Quite obviously, with three stories to juggle, things hop from one story to another and one plot point to another quite quickly.  Trust me, you will never be board while reading this book.  Yet things never overlap so much that I was confused.  I could keep all three stories straight.

I'm not a fan of books like this where multiple plots take place with little to no interaction.  However, since I sat down expecting that, I didn't mind it quite so much.  Unlike the previous book in the series, I did think enough time was left to adequately wrap up the stories.  In fact, there was a nice twist to one of them.

The pace is so fast that the characters suffer a bit.  If I didn't know our four leads from the previous books, I would feel quite lost.  As it is, I have come to care for them, so I was mildly touched by a couple of scenes.  I know I am rooting for these ladies to wind up happy as each book progresses.

The other characters don't fair nearly as well.  The characters we are introduced to here only serve to tell the story.  We don't get to know them or their motives or desires.  It makes things a little flat, but again, I was expecting it so I didn't care.

As with others in the series, the chapters are short, usually three to four pages.  Frankly, this helps organize the stories since they never share a chapter.  It also makes the book an even faster read.  Most of the book is told first person from Lindsay's point of view, but we get plenty of chapters from other viewpoints here, including Yuki, Cindy, and a villain or two.

Like the others in the series, The 6th Target isn't great literature.  There's nothing heavy to chew on here afterward.  But it is enjoyable reading for a few hours.

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

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