Review: “14th Deadly Sin,” James Patterson, Maxine Paetro

Pros: No difficulties jumping right in
Cons: Semi-cliffhanger
Rating: 4 out of 5

14th Deadly Sin is actually the first “Women’s Murder Club” book I’ve read, written by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. I found it quite easy to jump in after I got to know the characters a little–the authors do a bang-up job of making the book stand well alone. In this volume, several people are dressing up like police (they wear police windbreakers while wearing caps and latex masks and gloves). They don’t leave any evidence behind when they rob low-end places like check cashing companies, pawn stores, etc. They display enough knowledge that it’s entirely possible they’re real cops rather than someone simply dressing up like a cop. No one wants to believe this, but homicide detective Lindsay Boxer has to investigate it–and that’ll create some friction between her and some of the other cops she works with. In the meantime, there’s an odd set of cold cases–five women who’ve died, one a year, on Claire’s birthday–all stabbed. Joe–Lindsay’s guy–finds himself suddenly without a current job, so he decided to poke into the matter. (Note that the reason for Joe’s sudden firing is one of the unfinished threads of the novel.)

 

Characterization in Patterson and Paetro’s book is very good. Even just meeting the four women at a truncated birthday party for Claire gave me a great feel for them. I found Yuki particularly interesting as she considers switching from the DA’s office to work for the Defense League, protecting those who didn’t get justice from the system so far. This particularly shed light on Yuki’s relationships, in terms of when she talks to her husband and her current boss about the possible change.

Just as a detail, I loved that one of the forensic analysts noted that a location had “more prints than a frame shop.” On TV there’s always a perfect fingerprint, with only maybe three or four irrelevant ones. As much as I still love some of those shows, I also enjoy seeing the more realistic version here.

The pacing is particularly good in 14th Deadly Sin–it was difficult to put down even well past my usual bedtime. A few bits of dialogue or description were a little stilted (“We were all emoting”?! ugh), but for the most part it worked well.

It’s important to note that there is what I think of as a semi-cliffhanger at the end of the book. The basic plot has been resolved, but it ends with a new threat to Lindsay. Because the story in this book was resolved, I don’t mind having a sort of ‘teaser’ to get us interested in the next book; it didn’t ping my strong dislike of cliffhangers.

I enjoyed this book, and it made me want to read more from the series.

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