I’m going to be the 1st to Die

I hate colds. I hate seeing the pile of used tissues get bigger every three second, I hate feeling like I am being slowly shot in the forehead by a chunky rifle, but most of all, it’s the almost inevitable asthma I get afterwards.

Now, I’m fairly lucky with my asthma. I don’t usually think it hinders my life at all anymore. I can run, I can go to the gym (on occasions) and (this pun is made by request) the cold never bothered me anyway… part of me just died.

Unfortunately, during the winter months, where I get back to school and colds are spreading, I am faced with the options of being a social outcast or tearing up my trachea. While social outcasting is probably the better option, I vote for talking to people, and becoming the first to die (a.k.a. miss school first).

Oh yeah! The book. I read this book a while back on my Kobo, which now sits collecting dust in the corner of my room. I prefer the real deal. Little did I know, this book surprised me in more ways than one…

1st to Die is, who would have guessed, the first book in the series of… of… I might as well come clean, of the Women’s Murder Club series of books. I’ll say in my defence now that I only realised this half-way through the book, when the club is formed. But hey! The show must go on.

The book focuses on Inspector Lindsay Boxer of the San Francisco Police Department. She is introduced in the book holding a gun to her head as she is depressed about a particularly difficult murder case she has participated in beforehand. She is diagnosed with a blood disease called Negli’s Aplastic Anemia. She has to cope with the illness while tracking down a murderer killing grooms and brides.

She teams up with a group of women behind the backs of her boss and unit, including coroner Claire, D.A. assistant Jill and crime reporter Cindy.

I have to admit, I liked this book. It gives each part of the story the right amount of attention , including Lindsay’s disease, the murders and Lindsay’s new partner and love interest Chris. I would have liked to see a little more of the murder club actually looking at the crime in detail, instead of character building each other, but it’s the first book, so it’s understandable the premise has to be firmly set.

Patterson doesn’t skimp out on the detail either. You really do see this murderer as cold-hearted and merciless, not to mention smooth and sharp-witted. The important clues are so small, it’s amazing how the Club picks up on what the P.D. doesn’t.

Let me warn you, the more I think about it, the more I realise how much this book is written mainly for a female audience. Sure, I was entertained by the crime-solving and a couple of the action sequences, but there is a large quantity on romance (which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, read my Love Actually post about that argument) and the Club talk is quite female-orientated. However, it did keep me fairly gripped about who the murderer was.

The plot was quite clever. There were many variables in the character’s lives, not to mention how the clues seem to be too obvious leading you to wander if there is something fishy going on. But I did not like the ending. Why? Because it was Patterson. It was Patterson writing.

I find that with Patterson’s work, he’ll throw in a random variable or randomly kill or revive someone in a book, with some extremely flimsy reason. I can hear him now screaming out the pages “This is happening now, and I can do whatever I want because I’m the mighty James Patterson and everyone can pass it off as a clever plot twist.” No, no it’s not. It’s a cheap twist, like “it was all a dream” twist (not that this one was, but it is the same in the level of cheapness).

Spoilers in this paragraph, so skip to the next one if you want to read the book. The Club realise that the murders are being carried out like the manuscript for a writer’s book. Obvious clues place him under arrest, but the girls believe that he has been framed. Skip later on in this story, and it turns out  he has been framed by his abused wife. I’m fine with that. A fire-fight ensues and she dies or is arrested or something (I can’t remember). This is what annoys me. Lindsay gets a knock on her door from the writer. And guess what! He suddenly explains how the murders were committed himself and his wife. This ruins the story. It’s just chucked in there as an after-thought. Patterson couldn’t wait to land this double twist, by I was left feeling bewildered and a little ripped-off. It didn’t even hold any significance! They fight, he falls, the end. How am I supposed to believe such a ridiculous ending? Why did he go back to kill her? He was off scot-free. Sigh… James Patterson everyone.

If I had to pick out other bad points, I would give a little slate to the conversations with the girls. They seem way too generic, about babies and where’s the riskiest place you had sex etc. These women have highly-respected roles and jobs in society and they want to know who joined the Mile High Club? Other conversations held emotion and thought, but James really should have sat in on some more girly chats.

If you would ask if I would read another one of the books? Then yes, I would. It interested me enough to keep me reading on, there were some scenes that made me squirm in my seat and it wasn’t too Patterson-y… that’s always good!

So yes, I would recommend this book. It’s tone is serious, if a little unrealistic in plot, but the characters are strong and diverse and James isn’t afraid to push the boundaries a little more (but in some places, too much) than other writers. James, I am giving you another chance to prove yourself to me again, because pulling the wool over my eyes long enough into the story for me not to realise it’s a Woman’s Murder Club book is fair play. Very fair play indeed.

I don’t have time for an outro. I’ll give you an update Wednesday. See you all soon!


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