Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review: Unlucky 13 by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Women's Murder Club #13)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Three gripping, fast moving plots
Cons: Unconnected plots, weaker characters
The Bottom Line:
Page turning action
But usual weaknesses
Great for series fans

We're in Luck!  This is One of the Better Women's Murder Club Books

The books in the Women's Murder Club series are often highly uneven.  One book will be very good and the next will be almost as bad.  Since the last book was riddled with flaws, we were due for a good book, and that's what we get in Unlucky 13.

SFPD Sergeant Lindsay Boxer is our main character most of the time in this series since we usually read from her first person narration.  The other women in the club are coroner Claire Washburn, reporter Cindy Thomas, and ADA Yuki Castellano.  Through working together on past cases, these women have formed a deep friendship and share tips and information to catch criminals and further their careers.

It appears to be a fatal single car accident until Claire takes a closer look and determines that it might have been a small bomb instead.  Lindsay gets the case, but the FBI quickly take it from her.  Still, she and Richie investigate, but they are finding so few clues.  Will the bomber strike again?

Meantime, the FBI has also spotted Mackie Morales, the one who got away.  Cindy becomes obsessed with tracking this psychopath down, with the help of cops, to conduct an interview.  And Yuki is getting married, but her joy might quickly turn to sorrow….

Once again, there are three plot lines in this book.  Once again, I'm going to say I wish there weren't.  Things would be stronger if all four women worked together on one case.  One of the stories gets a rather short climax as a result of trying to cram so much into the novel.  Yes, it is 400 pages, but with the usual abundance of chapters and larger than normal print, it's a fast read as always.

That complaint aside, what we have here is very suspenseful.  All three stories are developed well and kept me turning pages wanting to know what would happen in each of them next.  I was scared for most of the regulars at some point before things were wrapped up.

Claire is the only characters to get short shafted on page time, but I can see where it is hard to find much for a coroner to contribute after the autopsy is done.  We actually get passages written from Cindy and Yuki's third person point of view.  Still, the characters aren't the strongest in the series, and I probably wouldn't have cared so much about the outcome if I hadn't read the earlier books in the series.

Since you never quite know what you'll get from this series, it's always a relief to turn the last page satisfied.   That was the case for me with Unlucky 13, and I think other fans of the series will feel the same way.

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


  1. Doesn't sound like my kind of book, but thanks for the balanced review.

    1. You are welcome. It's nice to find a book you can take off the to be read pile at times, isn't it?

  2. I have most of the books in the Women's Murder Club series but haven't started them yet. Did I ever tell you I'm a procrastinator?

    1. With how uneven this series is, there's no reason to rush out and start it. But there are some good books along the way.

      And tomorrow I'll tell you how bad I am at procrastinating.