Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong story
Cons: Most of the women background characters; parts are brutal
The Bottom Line:
A kidnapping case
Plus Joe tracks war criminal
Stronger series book
Hunt for Missing Teachers
I’m sure I would have given up on the Women’s Murder Club series by now if I had to buy them. I usually enjoy them enough to keep reading, but I don’t know that I’d want to buy them. Fortunately, my library does a good job of supplying me with each entry in the series, like the newest, The 18th Abduction.
Outside of the Prologue and Epilogue, the entire book takes place five years in the past, when San Francisco Homicide Detective Lindsay Boxer is a newly wed to FBI agent Joe Molinari. And both of them are dealing with high pressure cases. In Lindsay’s case, she isn’t dealing with a homicide – at least hopefully not. Instead, she’s investigating what happened to three women who went missing one night. The three are teachers and friends who went out for dinner and drinks on a Monday night, and that’s the last anyone has seen of them. Lindsay is part of the taskforce assigned to find them, but can they do that before the missing women are killed? Or is it already too late?
Meanwhile, Joe stumbles into a case when he finds a woman sitting next to her bike near the FBI’s office in San Francisco. That woman, Anna, explains that she was just trying to make a report to the FBI. She’s seen a Serbian war criminal in the city – someone who killed her family and brutalized her. Joe takes the report seriously, but can he find a way to bring this criminal to justice?
In some ways it was nice going back five years, back to a time when Lindsay and Joe were happily married before plot contrivances worked to undermine their relationship. (Seriously, the last few books have been stupid where their relationship is concerned.)
On the other hand, the rest of the Women in the Women’s Murder Club are pretty much reduced to cameos. I suspect this was to keep us (and the authors) from being too confused as to what is happening in their lives now versus back then. But the end result is that Claire, as medical examiner, contributes to the case a little while Cindy and Yuki pretty much just get cameos. However, as I have pointed out, that can be a blessing for Yuki, who gets some of the worst storylines of the series. (Even worse than Lindsay and Joe’s marriage.) The characters aren’t super strong, but that’s been a factor since the beginning of the series.
The plot itself was good, and I was happy to see something I’ve been wishing for happened here. (Don’t worry, no spoilers.) However, it is brutal, thanks to Anna’s story. We learn about her back story, which involves war crimes. It’s not pleasant, so keep that in mind as you are reading the book. You’ve got to be in the right mindset to read it. Fortunately, we don’t get into graphic details, but we do get enough to know how truly horrible things were.
Despite most of the Women missing much of the action, The 18th Abduction still proves to be one of the stronger entries in this series. Fans will be happy with it.
Be sure to check out the rest of the Women's Murder Club series.