Title: 1st to Die
Author: James Patterson
Series: The Women's Murder Club, book 1
Recommendation: A solid mystery thriller with turns and twists.
Summary: Lindsay Boxer is a homicide detective who is investigating the murders of newly married couples. The high profile case brings her a new partner and a lot of media attention. Still the murders continue and the case is not easy to crack. She starts to regularly meet with a couple of other women peripherally involved in the case: a medical examiner, a journalist, and a prosecutor. Together their logic and intuition may be able to solve the case.
Reactions: After finishing the previous book, I wanted to give Patterson another try, but wasn't sure which of his novels to pick up. This one appealed to me due to the female protagonist and San Francisco setting, so I settled on reading it. Overall it was a better book than Don't Blink, but not nearly as big a difference as some reviews claimed.
I think that the best part of the book was the plot and the investigation itself. It kept me in suspense and kept me reading late at night to find out who the killer is. The plot twists were pretty cool and I thought the ties back to the clues were well done. I had a bit of a problem with how one of the plot lines was wrapped up at the end, but overall the ending wrapped the case up pretty well.
I liked the main character, Lindsay. She is smart and tough without being completely bitchy or too cliche. Her friend, a medical examiner, is also a character I enjoyed. In fact the pair strongly reminded me of the cast of the TV show Castle. The other two women in the club didn't really come alive for me in the book. Overall, it was an interesting cast, but there was just something elusive missing. That something makes a reader fall in love with the characters and that something was missing here. Perhaps it'll happen after a few more books.
Of course the book wouldn't be complete without some romantic plot. In a way, the romantic story line felt like it didn't need to be there. I suspect it attracts a certain audience to have this type of plot and it's clear Patterson writes the sort of books that sell. The romance wasn't badly written, but ran on the cliche side and I would consider it the weaker part of the book.
All in all I enjoyed the reading and recognizing the geographical landmarks mentioned in the book made it more fun. Would definitely consider picking up more of the books in the series.