Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Review: 7th Heaven by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

I can't say that I've read much James Patterson; I really enjoyed Jack and Jill and both the Alex Cross films with Morgan Freeman but I hadn't read any of the Women's Murder Club series until I received a review copy of 7th Heaven.

Patterson is well known for his style of many short chapters and this one's no exception: 125 chapters in 376 pages, but for a slow reader like myself, I at least feel that I'm making quick progress.
The Women's Murder Club comprises Lindsay (police detective), Yuki (assistant district attorney), Claire (medical examiner) and Cindy (crime reporter) and as well as being best friends, their paths cross professionally during the two cases that need to be solved in 7th Heaven.

The first case is one dear to Lindsay's heart. The unsolved disappearance of Michael Campion, the sickly son of a former California Governor, is a high profile mystery, one that touched the hearts of all California and the rest of the US due to the young man being on tv, being so brave. An anonymous tip-off leads the police to a young prostitute who after much questioning confesses that Michael died on her and that she got her boyfriend to come over and cut the body up, later disposing of it in another town. Once 'lawyered up' however she retracts her confession but the case goes to trial and Yuki is the prosecutor.

The second case involves a pair of young men, robbing and burning down wealthy households with the owners still inside, the only clue they leave being cryptic messages in Latin inside a book.

Are the two cases related? Will they catch the arsonists? Will Yuki win her trial and where's the body of Michael Campion?

All these questions are answered and the suspense is kept high until the final pages. 7th Heaven is written in a brisk and clear style which hurts your arm more than your brain. I enjoy a good plot and this one qualifies in that category, in the main. I was less keen on the arson plot as the motivation for such terrible acts was very weak, however the Michael Campion plot was very intriguing with an interesting courtroom battle occurring for most of the book. As to the characters though, for one thing very little is provided on appearance; I mostly got that Lindsay and Cindy are blonde, Yuki has Japanese features and Claire is big and pregnant. Whether you get more descriptions in the earlier six books, I couldn't say. Lindsay and Yuki get most attention in this outing and are more fleshed out. Perhaps earlier books deal with the other two in more depth.

The bottom line is that I enjoyed it and would certainly read more of this series and rather regret not having already read the earlier ones.
7th Heaven was released yesterday. You can get better descriptions of the four women plus an interview with James Patterson at the new UK website.

The Women's Murder Club is now an ABC tv show, so maybe we'll see it on these shores at some point.

1 comment:

Pageturners said...

Good review - thank you, very informative. 7th Heaven has just entered some of the bestseller lists in Ireland.