Sunday, April 24, 2011

CBR-III: Book #12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Warning: This review (like the Bourne series) covers a large series of books. Because of this it will likely contain numerous spoilers.

I picked up 1st to Die , opened up a beer, and got about four pages in before I said to myself: Wait. I’ve read this before. Have I read this before?. I didn’t know, so I continued reading. Two more paragraphs and I thought: I’ve totally read this. That’s the problem with James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club, the story falls out of your head right after you read it. They don’t leave a lasting impression. They don’t make you ponder what you’ve just read. It’s like watching Jumper. It’s pretty entertaining, you’ll likely enjoy it, but will you think about it ever again? No.

The Murder Club consists of a key group of ladies:
Lindsay Boxer is a San Francisco homicide detective (a sergeant, who becomes a lieutenant, who busts herself back down to sergeant). She‘s an All-American girl, second generation cop, devoted dog lover, and the only character in the series that is presented in first person. She‘s also, honestly, one of the least interesting characters of the series. She can do no wrong. Well she can, but it always works out in her favor. Plus, her love life is fucking boring.

Cindy Thomas is a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Originally a go-getter in the first book she‘s just a hot shot after that. She‘s the cute one of the group, and often used for comic relief.

Claire Washburn is the Chief Medical Examiner for San Francisco. She’s also obese. She’s also married. She’s also the most relatively tame one…you know…being that she’s married. Consider her the mother hen.

Jill Bernhardt (spoiler) survives three books. To round out all of the sides of a police investigation you have to have a lawyer. In this case she is/was the ADA She was also the only other married one. Leaving it a tie: two single ladies, two married ones.

Yuki Castellano takes over for Jill in the 4th book. Originally just a lawyer she eventually has to move up the ranks too…eventually becoming an ADA as well. She’s single. Japanese/Italian. She also never gets laid, a fact we become aware to several times.

The books:
1st to Die: A serial killer targets newlyweds.

2nd Chance: A serial killer targets specific people, and they’re related to cops.

3rd Degree: A terrorist group targets rich people. We also start getting into the subplots here. Sure, the other two books had subplots, but they weren’t as distinct. Subplot: Jill’s got an abusive husband.

4th of July: The main plot this time revolves around a shooting incident that leaves Lindsay under investigation. Subplot: A serial killer (or killers?) targets seemingly random people in a small town.

The 5th Horseman: A serial killer is running loose killing people in a hospital. At the same time the hospital is involved in a court case for malpractice because of the “strange” deaths. Subplot: A serial killer (or killers?) is staging crime scenes. Nicknamed “The Car Girls.”

The 6th Target: A random/bizarre shooting incident injures one of their own, and a large court case ensues. Subplot: Wealthy, savant-like, children and their nannies are being kidnapped. Holy fucking shit! There isn’t a serial killer? Praise fucking god.

7th Heaven: A serial killer (killers?)/arsonist is targeting seemingly random wealthy people. Subplot: An ex-governors teenage son is missing. A woman is being investigated, and tried, for the murder. Did she do it? Is she quilty?

The 8th Confession: A serial killer is targeting wealthy people. Subplot: The death of an apparent homeless hero sends Cindy on the hunt. Because of course cops don’t care about homeless people.

My beefs:
If you were going to write about serial killers…research would be good. My first problem with the stories should be evident, and I just now realized it. Anyone who has even looked at serial killers will notice several things. One, they kill the destitute. People who won’t be missed. In the books they kill rich people. The exact fucking opposite of serial killers. I don’t know if the likely filthy rich Patterson has a problem with rich people, but it certainly appears that way. Two, their victims don’t really fit a pattern (other than all being prostitutes, homeless, etc.). In almost every instance in the stories they do follow a pattern. I.e. the killer is committing…Three, never kill someone you know. Ever.

Tattoos. Patterson apparently feels that every bad guy on the fucking planet has tattoos. Most of them have sleeves! It started to get old. Really old. When every person they brought in to question, every “criminal” was layered with tattoos. Thanks Patterson, for sticking to a stereotype.

How about some new ideas? In both 3rd Degree and 4th of July Lindsay (A Cop) busts into a dangerous situation (with killers) without her cell phone, police radio, backup, or a bulletproof vest. And she’s supposed to be fucking smart? That doesn’t sound very smart to me. I think what really cracked me up is that Patterson used the same situation in back to back books.

Learn a little about police work. In the opening to each one of the books there is a thank you to an assortment of doctors, police officers, lawyers, etc. Yet he left a glaring hole in 2nd Chance. They’re after a suspect, a guy who is actually a former police officer, a guy who is out on parole. They want to hold him, thinking he’s a killer, but they just can’t charge him with anything. *cough*…*cough cough cough* The guy is out on parole? He’s out on parole and he hasn’t checked in with his parole officer, he hasn’t given them a change of address notification, he doesn’t have a job, and he’s even using a false identity. Two words. Two fucking words. Parole. Violation. Guess who the fuck is back in jail? Are you telling me all of these police officers and lawyers would conveniently overlook that? Bullshit.

The…give me a fucking break route.
Yuki is finally ready to give it up for the first time in 2 years? The guy is/was a hermaphrodite? *throws up hands*
Serial arsonists are burning houses all over the fucking place and Lindsay’s house honestly, accidentally, goes up in flames? Is that even statistically possible? *headdesk*
A killer is practically handing you a signed letter of guilt and it still takes you the whole book to figure out it’s them? *headhoneybadger*

LOVE. The little subplots of love are actually fairly interesting. I’m curious to find out who Cindy is dating now, because Cindy has fun. Yuki is just too much of a pain in the ass. The woman doesn’t need a man, not really. What she has is the voice of her mother telling her to be a good woman and to marry a nice man. Kind of plays out the interest in her. There is no love story with Claire, and the brief romantic malfunction of Jill was actually interesting…but way to fucking throw that idea out the window. Who does that leave us with? Lindsay. Why do I hate Lindsay? We find ourselves at the beginning of the first book with her ready to blow her head off. She’s just lost her love. I don’t…maybe I’m just a skeptic about the concept of love, but that love was her brief new partner in the book. It was a brief relationship. Yes, I can understand the circumstances surrounding their romance. Ok. Then how are you going to fuck it so fast? By the 3rd Degree she’s hooking up with another “partner.” This time his name is Joe. He’s not really her partner, he works for Homeland Security, but they were partnered up. I can’t care about her relationship with Joe…a key part in the rest of the books…because I can’t understand it. Anytime they are around each other they fuck like rabbits. Yet, in no time, he’s spouting his love for her and asking her to marry him. How? Why? I know this is weird but I don’t get, or understand, the chemistry. Then, out of nowhere, she hooks up (or almost does anyway) with her actual partner, Richard Conklin. So now she wants Joe, and she wants Rick. Yet, there still isn’t a fucking reason for her to want either of them. Then throw in a little jealously when Rick starts dating Cindy in The 8th Confession, and it’s really fucking retarded. I think whoever is writing the “romance” in these books (Andrew Gross co-wrote the 2nd and 3rd books, Maxine Paetro has co-wrote 4-8) is romantically deficient. Or they are just throwing the romance in there because they feel it’s necessary.

In Conclusion:
So what do I actually think of the series? The books are like candy. I could pick one up and read it in 4 hours cover to cover. They’re fun, they’re entertaining, but don’t expect some profound literary experience from reading them.

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