Unlucky 13 by James Patterson (Womens Murder Club #13)

My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: When two dead bodies are found inside a wrecked car on the Golden Gate Bridge, Detective Lindsay Boxer doubts that it will be anything as simple as a traffic accident.

The scene is more gruesome than anything she has seen before. It definitely wasn’t the crash that killed these people.

While Lindsay starts to piece this case together, she gets a call she wasn’t expecting. Sightings of her ex-colleague-turned-ruthless-killer Mackie Morales have been reported.

Wanted for three murders, Mackie has been in hiding since she escaped from custody. But now she’s ready to return to San Francisco and pay a visit to some old friends.

My Review: My last few books in this series have been something of a let down. However, this latest instalment has somewhat restored some of my previous faith in these Patterson books. It seems that Lindsay Boxer has returned somewhat to her previous personality. What at first appears to be a routine accident on the Golden Gate Bridge, actually turns out to be the start of a disturbing case. The victims look like they have ingested bombs. Lindsey and Richie need to work out who and why.

In addition to this, we see Yuki (2nd of the 4 WMC) get married to Brady (who also happens to be Lindsay’s boss). As they go off on their honeymoon, it appears that another thread to the story emerges with an attack on their Cruise ship. If that wasn’t enough then the return of Mackie Morales is the thread to complete the lot. Mackie was an ex-colleague of Lindsay’s who turned out to be a ruthless killer. She is now back and looking for her revenge. It seems that while Mackie is back, Cindy (the 3rd in the 4 of the WMC) is chasing her right back to give her, hopefully, the biggest story of her career in journalism. It appears that Clare (the 4th of the WMC) didn’t want to make much of an appearance.

The writing style is the usual short and sharp affair, which always maintains my interest. Although there are three threads to the story the downside was that it at times appeared a little disjointed. That aside, I thought it was pretty pacey and the reintroduction of Mackie Morales made for a pretty exciting story too. I think the series is a far cry from being where it was in the early days, however this latest book I think is a big improvement on some of the others.

12th Of Never by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #12)

My Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: A baby on the way and two killers on the loose. Will Detective Lindsay Boxer be pushed to breaking point? An eccentric professor walks into Lindsay’s homicide department to report a murder that hasn’t yet happened. A convicted serial killer wakes from a two-year coma. He says he’s ready to tell where the bodies are buried, but does he have a much more sinister plan in mind? Lindsay doesn’t have much time to stop a terrifying future from unfolding. But all the crimes in the world seem like nothing when she is suddenly faced with the possibility of the most devastating loss of her life.

My Review: I have read each and every one of the Women’s Murder Club books and just lately they seem to be losing their flair. It seems that for each book, one of the characters has a major change of personality. Having said that, book 11 was a vast improvement on book 10! With this latest instalment, I was hoping to see things settle down once again but sadly this wasn’t the case.

With Lindsay Boxer as a new mother, her baby’s birth was the intro to this latest book. That alone is something that just feels secondary to the series and no real thought had gone into it. Yuki is now running a case which seemed to take over for the majority of the book and I have to be honest and say that this particular part of the story didn’t grab me. It is a case involving Keith Herman, a disgraced attorney, who is being prosecuted for the murder of his wife. Whilst Lindsay and Yuki are busy, we see Claire get demoted following the disappearance of a body from her Morgue, and finally we see fleeting glimpses of Cindy whose relationship with Lindsay’s partner Rich Conklin appears to be running into trouble.

I read this book pretty quickly, which wasn’t difficult as JP books are never meaty anyway. But by the end of the book, although I couldn’t say it was terrible, I also couldn’t say it was brilliant. It felt like storylines were created for all 4 characters and there was far too much going on for them individually. This made me feel like I was jumping from pillar to post, without any real sense of connection. Like many others I have probably read at least 60-70% of James Patterson’s books, but am finding that my patience is wearing a bit thin. I would prefer to wait all year for one book from the man himself, than to constantly try and catch up with all the various series and co-written books he produces. Overall, another James Patterson disappointment!

Review of 11th Hour by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #11)

My Rating: 4/5
First off I need to say that if you haven’t read previous books in this series and you intend to read them in order please don’t continue reading the review as some of the storyline will inevitably contain spoilers.

In my ongoing love/hate relationship with James Patterson; I once again pre-ordered this book (even after convincing myself I shouldn’t) and set about catching up with the ladies from the Women’s Murder Club. I have read each book in this series and probably like many others feel like you have a history with these women. Lindsay Boxer, a detective, Claire who is a medical examiner, Cindy the reporter and Yuki a District Attorney have been friends for a long time and their tight knit circle will never change. In the 9th book in the series I thought I would give up as some of the characters seemed to have lost their edge; however the tenth book gained some ground as the ladies seemed back to their present form. This current book also showed the ladies back to form and it was a pleasure to see them in their usual roles.

The major difference now is that Lindsay Boxer is pregnant but she certainly doesn’t allow this to stop her working at her usual pace. When she and her partner Rich Conklin get called to the first murder scene they find millionaire Chaz Smith gunned down in a school. As usual, this case turns out to be one that has many elements, especially as the murder weapon was stolen from the department’s evidence locker.

Shortly after both Lindsay and Rich are called to another murder scene where two heads are discovered. Being pregnant and trying to run two murder cases see Lindsay at her most vulnerable, and for a change it really suited her. The story is the typical Patterson style with short and sharp chapters keeping your interest as the story picks up pace as the two investigations take on their own leads.

This book features Lindsay as the main lady and we see a little more of her personal life creeping into her work life as she tries to manage pending motherhood, along with maintaining her marriage to ex-FBI agent Joe. We also see a lot of Cindy as she does her usual trick of trying to get the lead on a story, whilst also battling her own issues surrounding her relationship with Lindsay’s partner Rich. We see less of Yuki and Claire although they still feature in the story as the ladies try to close both cases. We see Warren Jacobi, Lindsay’s boss feature in the story which for me was a welcome return.

The book was written well as usual and the story itself held my interest but after finishing it, I felt like there was no real progress with the ladies. I think maybe I was expecting something major to happen with one of them to keep this series from going stale. Having said that; I still think that Patterson will keep his fans happy with this latest release.

I enjoyed the book and would certainly say it’s a good one for the series. I am actually really looking forward to the next one, as I think with Lindsay having a baby and Yuki dating Lindsay’s boss things may heat up for the next book. It would also be nice to see the return of Jacobi more frequently as I always thought he spiced things up. Like I say, a winning formula but would like to see something to shock in the next one.

10TH ANNIVERSARY BY JAMES PATTERSON (WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB #10)

My Rating: 3/5

In the last book 9th Judgement I was not a happy bunny. The lead character Lindsay seemed to have had a personality transplant and had become this wimp overnight. Thankfully she seems to have got some of her backbone back in this latest book. Her and her work partner Rich are a good fit and the case they worked on was the main thread of this book in the beginning. Thankfully the story was somewhat better than some of the others in the series although a long way off as good as they could be.

Yuki is the other character I just cannot get my head around. For a start she is an Assistant District Attorney so the true nature of somebody in that position doesn’t fit with how she is being written. The main thread for her was again not a bad story, but we keep seeing the insistent `pushing’ of her becoming involved with somebody and having to find herself a man. There is something about it that just doesn’t sit right with me.

Cindy is the one character that I think has become stronger and her relationship with Rich played a bigger part this time round. The last book I read their relationship felt like an added extra that was dumped in the book at the last minute but thankfully now it all seems to have taken an upward turn and fits her character and the story a lot better. Cindy was by far the best part of this latest read which isn’t that positive a sign seeing as the book features Lindsay a lot more.

Medical Examiner Claire was the only character that was missing for the largest part of the book. It felt like they had forgotten her or maybe it was the fact that there were a lot less dead bodies in this one for her to autopsy. Either way I think she should have featured more that she did.

Okay, I feel like I do this every time I read a Patterson nowadays. It’s almost like I get a shock if I love the book. The thing with Patterson books is that the writing style is genius. They are short sharp chapters which manage to pique your interest and keep you turning pages. However, the real heart of the stories seems to be somewhat missing. Is this down to Patterson losing his touch or down to the co-authors who some people claim are the real `writers’ to these books? Who knows?

The three stories that ran were okay, but just that, okay! They were interesting enough to keep me reading and in truth the only thing that made me that bit more interested were the characters I have grown to understand and know the more I have read.

The pace was as usual pretty good but there were no great surprises and like I mentioned before the body count was low! If this was the first in the series I think there would be less of a following and I think that people go back to these books time and time again because they are `easy readers’.

If you look at the overall rating of these Murder Club books you may be surprised. Amazon ratings show the majority of the series to be `middle of the road’ and I can understand why. Love him or loathe him, you won’t find many people that haven’t heard of or read a James Patterson.

This time I won’t try to convince myself that I won’t pre-order because (for no obvious reason) I probably will (what a sucker!). I wouldn’t say this was awful, but I wouldn’t say it was his best.

9TH JUDGEMENT BY JAMES PATTERSON (WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB #9)

My Rating: 3/5

The women who have all been part of the `Women’s Murder Club’ do all appear in the story but to varying degrees.

You have Lindsay Boxer the lead character who is meant to be a feisty detective and she works alongside Rich Conklin. Cindy is a reporter and not only does she cover the case of Hello Kitty she is also in a relatively new relationship with Rich Conklin. Yuki is a lawyer and isn’t directly linked to the cases but appears in the story albeit briefly. Claire is a Medical Examiner and has a family of her own. She features more prominently in this story as she attends all the murder scenes.

The story itself is a vast improvement on the last one in the series. I have said before, and will say again, I wonder at the speed in which James Patterson produces books. They come out frequently and some books tend to have that slightly `unfinished’ feel to them. This one had some great twists in it and like I said before the actual storyline was pretty captivating. It made a change to have two stories running parallel through the book that eventually intertwine at the end. The chapters were written in the classic Patterson style; short and sharp. I have personally found that this makes the book very edgy and easy to get pulled along with.

The characters themselves are another matter altogether. As I have read every single one of the series you find yourself knowing the characters that bit more than a stand-alone novel. All I can say is WHAT HAPPENED? Our leading lady Lindsay Boxer has had a personality transplant, and not one that I like all that much. She has always been a very strong woman that has had to fight her way through the usual politics within law enforcement. Although she is involved in a long term relationship with Joe, she has always been fiercely independent. Suddenly she has become this wimpy woman with no backbone?!?

The other women characters are all pretty strong too but with the author and co-author suddenly `finding’ Yuki a man it seemed … well… just wrong. It didn’t fit, as the relationship between Cindy and Rich just doesn’t fit. I felt like the characters have changed too much and I can’t see many fans of this particular series liking it all that much.

Overall I am glad that the story and writing itself was a vast improvement but the characters lost so much that it made the book that little bit less enjoyable for me. I would still recommend.

8TH CONFESSION (WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB #8)

My Rating: 2/5

My Review – James Patterson has been writing a series of books which are part of the ‘Women’s Murder Club’ series. They involve four women who have all featured heavily in previous books. They are Lindsay, Cindy, Yuki and Claire.

The story for the 8th Confession focuses on two main threads. The first is a murder of a “saintly” homeless man and Cindy who is a journalist finds her senses telling her to keep on at this, and she is convinced there is a story there. The other thread features the serial murders of the rich society movers and shakers in the strangest manner. It appears they have all been killed by a snake bite. Lindsay and her partner Rich Conklin need to investigate the murders to find who is behind these strange killings. Yuki meanwhile is juggling her job as an attorney and falling for what she thinks is the man of her dreams.

I read this book just as quickly as other James Patterson books and found the pace pretty good but think that is down to the writing style as opposed to anything else. However I have to say I still felt that it was still a disappointment. The plot just didn’t seem to be there. It seemed to lack any substance and the four main characters that have featured in this series seem to have all changed personalities. What I loved about this series of books is that with each book you read you learn a little more about each of them. With this book, not only was the storyline lacking but so were the characters of the four women that we fans have come to know and love.

Usually the girls are brought together and fight together. This time round, you get glimpses of them all and only Lindsay and Cindy really stands out as being part of the plot line. Yuki and Claire barely get a mention. I am beginning to wonder if James Patterson has lost his touch with this series or if he is churning them out far too quickly?