Combining action and suspense, James Patterson's novel 1st to Die kept me riveted. While I couldn't call it an enjoyable read – I have a hard time smiling at murders – it certainly held my attention while tracking murderers in San Francisco.
Homicide Detective Lindsey Boxer struggles to capture the killer of various newlyweds, while at the same time fighting her own life-or-death battle. Between a new partner – brought in for 'spin control' – and the need for political line-walking, Boxer has more than enough on her plate. Add in a bizarre murderer who changes methods with no rhyme or reason, and she has a great challenge to overcome.
But just when Lindsey thinks she has her man, she comes to realize the elaborate ruse that has been played. And then, once she has solved the ruse, there is another tiny problem … which led to an ending that felt a little off-kilter. I felt that Patterson did a great job of leading up to the possibility of the double deception, but the last chapter felt a bit hurried.
When it looks like Lindsey is going to be taken off the case, she teams up with three other professional women and forms the 'Women's Murder Club', a group which apparrently survives through various other Patterson novels. This, of course, sets us up as a series, which looks to be entertaining.
The novel was a good read. The evidence pointed several ways at once, keeping the reader guessing until the end. The characters were realistic, and I enjoyed the various facets of the law juxtaposed together. Although the 'Women's Murder Club' caused me to raise my eyebrows, I thought it would lead to some other great mysteries.
There were a few points that I did not enjoy. I did not like the way the novel was told in the first person primarily, but jumped into other points of view at random moments. I have a particular dislike for jumps in person, and I thought a great deal of what was conveyed could be covered from Lindsey's perspective. The only thing that couldn't, of course, was the actual murders. Either way, it causes the reader to stop and take a few minutes to change perspective, which takes you out of the flow of the story.
Patterson manages a gripping storyline – he wouldn't be a best selling author if he couldn't write. His murder idea was interesting, and the inclusion of Lindsey's personal life and blooming relationship (whose ending I did forsee) add an extra element to the story. The novel was a good read, and, while I won't keep it on my 'favorites' list, it certainly makes a great thriller.
By Nola Redd
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