Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Review: 10th Anniversary by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Women's Murder Club #10)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Fast moving and fun
Cons: Lack of Claire, too many plots for one book
The Bottom Line:
Fast moving and fun
Characters lack any depth
So could be better

10th Anniversary Must be the Average Anniversary

James Patterson is a book producing machine, thanks in large part to his co-authors who I suspect do the majority of the work.  The only series of his I have even tried to keep up with is the Women's Murder Club, currently co-written with Maxine Paetro.  This series focuses on four women who are friends who also potentially work together to solve the big cases in their native San Francisco.  As the title suggests, 10th Anniversary is the tenth book in the series, and it's pretty much par for the course.

The main focus of the books is Lindsay Boxer, a homicide inspector.  In fact, the majority of the book is told from her first person point of view.  Also in the group are her best friend Claire Washburn, a medical examiner: Yuki Castellano, an assistant district attorney; and Cindy Thomas, newspaper reporter on the crime beat.

Lindsay Boxer is finally marrying the man of her dreams, but she's hardly said "I do" before she is back at work.  She lands the case of a teen found post-partum bleeding in the middle of the road.  There's no sign of the baby, and Lindsay begins to fear for the child.  Not helping matters is the young mom who keeps changing her story about what happened.

Meanwhile, Cindy is investigating a series of rapes where the women black out for 12 hours only to wake up near their home.  And Yuki is trying the case of a woman who is accused of killing her husband in cold blood.  It's an open and shut case, right?  If so, why is Lindsay going behind everyone's back to reopen the case?

You might have noticed that I left one of the women out.  It seems in every book that one of the women is reduced to a glorified cameo, and in this book Claire gets that treatment.  She's around at the beginning and end, but basically disappears outside of one road trip in the middle.

Since the book is told from Lindsay's point of view, she is usually on the main story while some supporting characters get the sub-plots.  Here, I actually feel that Yuki's court case is actually the strongest story and the main plot, even though it isn't treated that way much of the time.  It definitely has the only real twists.

Frankly, none of the stories really intersect at all.  I miss the days of the first three in the series where all four of the main characters were working on the same case, bringing their own expertise to the table. 

Many of the books in this series are thrillers with time spent in the villain's head, leaving us to wonder how they will be caught.  Here, it's all mystery with all the time spent in the heads' of one of our lead women.  Lindsay spends most of the book narrating in first person, but occasionally we get a chapter from Cindy or Yuki's third person point of view.

As if often the case, the character development is kept to a minimum.  Over the course of 10 books, I do feel like I've gotten to know them, but the emphasis in each book is always on the action and not on the really getting to know anyone.  We get enough character development to care about the outcome, but that's about all we get.

The book is made up of lots of short chapters.  The average chapter length is probably 3.5 pages.  Between that and the dialog heavy writing style, the pages fly by.  I read this 400 page novel in just under four hours spread out over just two days.

James Patterson's books aren't high literature.  They are fast reads that are enjoyable and probably immediately forgettable.  That's the case with 10th Anniversary.  I enjoyed it, but it was only average overall.

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

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