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Women's Murder Club Box SetReview - Women's Murder Club Box Set
Volume 2
by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Hachette Audio, 2009
Review by Bob Lane, MA
Sep 1st 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 36)

This boxed set of three novels from the best selling author, James Patterson, provides some twenty-four hours of listening during which time one is grateful for the reading skills of Carolyn McCormick, who makes the stories exciting by providing an intelligent reading of the text. She has a varied career in television (Dr. Olivet on Law and Order) and as a guest on The Practice and even Star Trek. She has appeared in films (A Simple Twist of Fate and Enemy Mine) and on Broadway in The Dinner Party and Private Lives. The production quality is excellent with just the right sound effects and chapter breaks signaled with a musical flourish.

The three novels in this set present the members of the Women's Murder Club, Lindsay Boxer, Cindy Thomas, Claire Washburn and Jill Bernhardt, the founding members of the Women's Murder Club. In 4th of July, Yuki Castellano joins the Club. Together, they solve crimes in their home city of San Francisco, and often get together to talk about clues and life over Mexican food and drinks at Susie's restaurant and bar. In "The 4th of July" Detective Lindsay Boxer and the Women's Murder Club make a courageous return for their fourth and most chilling case ever-one that could easily be their last.

In a late-night showdown after a near-fatal car chase, San Francisco police lieutenant Lindsay Boxer has to make an instantaneous decision: in self-defense, she fires her weapon-and sets off a chain of events that leaves a police force disgraced, an entire city divided, and a family destroyed. Now everything she's worked her entire life for hinges on the decision of twelve jurors.

To escape scrutiny during breaks from her trial, Lindsay retreats to the picturesque town of Half Moon Bay. But soon after her arrival, a string of grisly murders punches through the peaceful community. There are no witnesses and there is no discernible pattern. But a key detail recalls a case Lindsay worked on as a rookie years before-an unsolved murder that has haunted her ever since. As summer comes into full swing, Lindsay and her friends in the Women's Murder Club battle for her life on two fronts: before a judge and jury as her trial comes to a climax, and facing unknown adversaries who will do anything to keep her from the truth about the killings-including killing again. The story begins: 

IT WAS JUST BEFORE 4:00 a.m. on a weekday. My mind was racing even before Jacobi nosed our car up in front of the Lorenzo, a grungy rent-by-the-hour "tourist hotel" on a block in San Francisco's Tenderloin District that's so forbidding even the sun won't cross the street.

Three black-and-whites were at the curb, and Conklin, the first officer at the scene, was taping off the area. So was another officer, Les Arou.

"What have we got?" I asked Conklin and Arou.

"White male, Lieutenant. Late teens, bug-eyed and done to a turn," Conklin told me. "Room twenty-one. No signs of forced entry. Vic's in the bathtub, just like the last one." [Source]

In "The 5th Horseman" Lieutenant Boxer is faced with a series of mysterious deaths of patients in a San Francisco hospital. Just when patients are about to be released their condition worsens and they die. Is it accidental? Malpractice?  Or is it murder? Working with her colleagues she must try to determine the reasons for the deaths even though the hospital administration stonewalls her investigation at every turn.  The newest member of the club, Yuki Castellano, has a particular interest in the case as her mother is hospitalized in that hospital.

The Women's Murder Club is a flourishing enterprise of television programs, books, audio books, and computer games. One such game is available from Big Fish Games which advertises on line: "An unidentified body is found on a rocky beach… was it an accident, or was it murder? The heroines of Women's Murder Club are back. This time they must uncover secrets surrounding a recent murder at a prestigious Southern military academy. Investigate each crime scene with a professional eye. Take pictures and samples for examination back to the lab. Solve challenging puzzles and interrogate suspects to reveal the true killer in this thrilling adventure!" One can download the game and play free for one hour.

In "The 6th Target" a crazed attacker, listening to voices which direct his murderous actions, leaves several people dead and injured in a random attack on a ferry. One of the victims is a member of the Women's Murder Club and is fighting for her life in hospital as her friends join forces to track down the assailant. In the meantime a string of child abductions rocks the city and Boxer must try to solve these cases too. In the midst of all the action Boxer tries to carry on her love affair with Joe, a homeland security federal agent working out of Washington DC, even though her time and his do not often allow for much leisure time together.

For those reader/listeners who are addicted to this genre of fast paced material this set will provide about twenty four hours of enjoyment. Take the set of twenty one CDs on a trip in the car or listen while you work out.

One observation from this listener: I cannot remember much of the stories shortly after completing them. Like fast food the enjoyment is ephemeral; the nourishment limited.

The computer game is fun.

 

© 2009 Bob Lane

 

Bob Lane is an Honorary Research Associate in Philosophy and Literature at Vancouver Island University in British Columbia.

 

 


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