Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review: 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Women's Murder Club #14)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Action and twists to strong stories
Cons: Two characters underserved; weaker characters overall
The Bottom Line:
Hang on for fun plot
As plot based thrills continue
All fans will enjoy

Deadly Game of Cops and Robbers

I’ve gotten so I really look forward to my annual visit with the ladies of the Women’s Murder Club.  While these aren’t the best books I read, they are always fun and fast paced.  14th Deadly Sin is the latest, and a great example of strengths and weaknesses of the series.

There have recently been a couple of robberies in San Francisco where the robbers were wearing masks and SFPD jackets.  However, the case gains momentum when the owner of the latest store hit is killed.  Lindsay Boxer lands the case and must work with robbery to find these men.  Are they really cops or just disguising themselves as such?

 Meanwhile, Lindsay’s husband Joe becomes obsessed with a string of murders that take place every year in broad daylight on Claire’s birthday.  With no witnesses, all but the most recent of these murders have grown cold.  And Yuki has left her job with the DA to work for a non-profit organization.  Her first case for them finds her going up again her old boss as she sues the SFPD for wrongful arrest and death.  Can she win?

There are four main characters in this series, but sadly, the book underserves two of them.  Claire, after getting the ball rolling on the annual murders plot with a casual remark, pretty much disappears again.  But honestly, how long as it been since she had any kind of a good plot?  Likewise, Cindy is sent off on a book tour for much of the book and is irrelevant, although I did love those scenes because of the bookstores that got cameos in the book.  Not all the women getting storylines is a chief complaint of mine in the series time and time again, so fans of the series won’t find it new.

However, the stories we do get are fast paces as always.  There are plenty of twists that kept me turning pages, and the further into the book I got, the less I wanted to put it down.  The story does end with a bit of a cliffhanger, and it makes me want to visit the next in the series soon.  If only it were out already.

While I complained a moment ago that some of the characters are underserved, the characters we do see are perfectly in character.  The emphasis is on the plot, but we are given just enough about the characters to truly come to care for them and root for them to solve the cases and come out alive.

After listening to most of Michael Connelly’s Lincoln Lawyer novels in the last year, I found Yuki’s courtroom scenes especially interesting.  They are definitely legal thriller light when compared to Connelly’s books but that makes sense because they only take up part of the book.  Still, I could identify a bit more what was going on and appreciate some of the strategy that wasn’t discussed but obvious to me now.

As always, about two thirds of the book is narrated by Lindsay in first person with other chunks being told in third person by various characters, both good and bad.  The short chapters help the 350 pages fly by thanks to the added white space it provides.

While the series can be uneven, this is definitely one of the better books in the series.  If you are a fan, you’ll be glad you picked up 14th Deadly Sin.

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

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