The opening two chapters of James Patterson’s latest Women’s Murder Club series, 7th Heaven, should be set to the Mission Impossible theme song. Tension and violence races through those first few pages as surely as that burning fuse tracked across the screen. And you won’t be able to stop there. Patterson and co-writer Maxine Paetro know how to get a thriller up and running and sustain the pace and the 'need to know what’s gonna happen next' with the best of them.
The book starts out with a couple of serial killer arsonists who could be college kids, except for that nasty homicidal urge they maintain, which would be exciting enough. But then the authors mix in a poor little rich boy with a congenital heart defect who's gone missing for a further delectable mystery that throws the Club’s newest member, Yuki Castellano, directly into the limelight and into harm’s way, I was flipping pages like a madman and trying to put all the pieces together.
Michael Campion, son of two of San Francisco’s wealthiest residents and waaaayyyy overprotective parents, was seen entering the home of Junie Moon, a known prostitute. He was never seen leaving again. I really like Lindsay Boxer’s first person narrative in all the books as she takes the primary focus of the investigations. She was in fine form in this book as she and partner Rich Conklin roll on the anonymous tip the San Francisco PD get about the night of Michael’s disappearance.
Patterson starts throwing twists and turns at the reader from the very beginning because Junie Moon isn’t what anyone expects her to be. I was torn all the way through the book about how I felt about her, and I caught just a glimpse of how the whole question of guilt was going to be resolved only a few pages from the end – which is the perfect place for a faithful suspense reader to be rewarded for paying attention.
When Junie Moon breaks down and confesses to being present when Michael died as a result of his heart defect, I felt sorry for her. Then she goes on to talk about how she and a co-conspirator cut up his body and disposed of it so she wouldn’t be connected to his death. Even when Yuki had her on the witness stand, I didn’t know exactly how I felt about her. The authors played that card perfectly.
In the meantime, the escalation of arsonist murders continues. At the same time, I was drawn into the question of whether or not Lindsay’s relationship with Joe was going to survive the stresses and strains of her job and her dedication to that job. Not only that, but more Patterson whipsaws charge out of the closet when it looks like the arsonists could be tied into one of the fire investigators Lindsay has known for years. To make matters worse, Lindsay’s feelings for her partner, and his for her, threaten the relationship she has with Joe.
Cindy Thomas, the reporter in their little group, doesn’t get much face time in this novel, but Claire Washburn, the medical examiner, is on hand and ready to deliver her new baby girl.
The Women’s Murder Club novels are always filled with personal stories as well as murder mysteries and suspenseful chases. That’s why so many readers pick them up each year. I opened the new novel and settled in with old friends who had new stories to tell and had a great time.
As always, Patterson’s novel proceeds with breakneck pacing, surprises, and crackling dialogue. The courtroom scenes where Yuki goes up against one of the most brilliant defense attorneys on the scene reads like something from Court TV, but it’s her suddenly blooming romantic interest that will captivate readers.
Fans of the series already know why they pick up each book, and they’re going to be happy to have the latest one. 7th Heaven is written strongly enough to stand on its own, so if you’re new to the series or have been curious about trying one out, feel free to jump on board with this one. Just make sure you start early or don’t have to go to work the next morning. You’ll probably read this one straight through.Powered by Sidelines