Women's Murder Club Box Set, Volume 1 Audio CD – Audiobook, Large Print, Unabridged
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"Now, for the first time, the first three books in this series are available in an audio box set that will delight fans of the series, as well as anyone intrigued by thrilling mystery stories that feature strong women characters."...
Large Print Reviews
About the Author
James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 300 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.
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The first story in this collection is '1st To Die' which introduces Lindsay Boxer and the Women's Murder Club. Lindsay is a San Francisco homicide Inspector and she has been put on a case where a married couple were killed on the evening of their wedding. Lindsay is partnered with a man from the mayor's office, Chris Raleigh, and on the same day discovers she has an unusual blood disorder which is potentially fatal. Lindsay's energy is directed toward the investigation as well as her health and as she investigates the first murder and another two 'bride and groom' killings she finds herself drawn into a group of other women for support - Cindy Thomas, a reporter; Claire Washburn, a medical examiner; and Jill Bernhardt, an assistant DA.
The book seemed to draw to a conclusion fairly early but then there were several twists which made the story move in new directions. The interactions between Lindsay and Chris Raleigh were well written, as were Lindsay's moments of emotion as she battles her disease and tries to get to the bottom of the murders. However there were some rather cringe-worthy moments when the girls seemed to have to say "I love you" to each other, as well as having to be vastly successful and feisty as well as in touch with their femininity. Those who like to read more about the murder scenes might find this story a disappointment as it seems to be more about Lindsay and her feelings than detective work. I also felt that the 'baddie' seemed rather comic-book bad and his behaviour at the very end of the story was rather implausible. Still I enjoyed the story and this new series of characters.
The narrator of this story did a good job but sometimes her voice became so quiet that it was difficult to hear over road noise when driving and listening, which is probably how many people will hear this story. In order to hear the quiet sections the volume had to be raised rather more than I would like for the louder sections. However this was an excellent audiobook and whiled away a long journey very effectively!
2ND CHANCE - 3 Stars
This is the second story in the series and follows on a couple of months after the shocking conclusion to the previous book. In this story Lindsay Boxer, newly promoted to Lieutenant, finds herself investigating some race hate crimes. She discovers fairly quickly that the crimes are being committed by a person who is part of a specific white group with an identifying tattoo - but it proves very difficult to pin down exactly who he is. When he starts toying with Lindsay and the police department, including killing someone close to her as well as attacking her friends, the stakes are even higher.
There are some additional side-plots in this story, including the return of Lindsay's father into her life, some significant events in Jill Bernhardt's life and a romance for Cindy Thomas. As in the previous book, the Women's Murder Club seems a rather unnecessary plot device where Lindsay talks over the case with her friends.
The writing style in this book felt at times rather clunky. I lost count of the time James Patterson used phrases like "My heart was exploding in my chest" or some other overblown description for Lindsay's excitement or fear. Although the action kept going I found some of the events a little difficult to swallow and I wasn't as gripped by this story as I had been by the previous one in the series.
The reader of this book had a less enjoyable voice than the reader of the previous one with a rather harsh delivery at times. Chapters where the narrator is the murderer were read by a male reader and unfortunately the volume on these chapters was notably quieter so that the volume had to be increased to hear him properly, then reduced again for the female narrator.
3RD DEGREE - 3 Stars
"Familiarity breeds contempt". I was struck by the truth of this saying when listening to the third of the Women's Murder Club audiobooks. Although the murder plot is completely different from that in the previous two books, James Patterson's writing style in this series is really beginning to grate. Once again I was struck by how unrealistic the conversation between the different women is - I mean, I can't think that I've ever gushed that I love various female friends whilst drinking at a bar. Perhaps American women do this but I'm not sure. Anyway, Patterson's writing is getting terribly repetitive in terms of his description of peoples' emotions: "Lindsay's eyes bulged out" (we had several people with bulging eyes in this story - what the heck is it supposed to mean?). Every event that happens is followed by a description of Lindsay's heart beating faster, her hairs on the back of her neck standing on end, her stomach churning, the aforementioned bulging eyes... it just feels like lazy writing.
It's not all lazy writing - in fact Patterson makes a bold plot move in this story which was surprising. However the weaknesses in the previous stories in terms of plot come into play here too - how is it that the vital piece of information is magically found by Lindsay, that her hunches are pretty much always correct, that she is able to put things together that no-one else can? There is a completely farcical point in this story where Lindsay decides to go back to the house that was a murder scene, looks through a cupboard, finds a set of newspaper clippings, reads one thirty-year-old clipping and realises it's the key to the case. I mean, how likely is that?
In some ways this story is reminiscent of the previous one in that long-ago events affect what's happening today. There's also another romance for Lindsay with rather a big cheese (who seemed a bit too good to be true to me). The murder plot is never easy to predict (partly because of the random coincidences that fall into Lindsay's lap) and it was a fairly easy story to listen to but it felt too much like 'murder story by numbers' to me and the completely unrealistic characterisation of the women jarred so badly with me that I found myself sighing in annoyance on many occasions. The final chapter was toe-curlingly cheesy to this British reader's sensibilities - the over-the-top romance side was laughable.
There is some good plotting in here, along with some lazy plotting; there are some exciting scenes, along with some dull ones; there are some interesting characters, unfortunately vastly outweighed by the cardboard ones. However overall this story felt repetitive, unengaging and badly written. I can't see any great reason to follow this series any further.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008
It seems that they are cheaply made. Otherwise I recommend reading this series...it's great!
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