Been a minute since I got to post a book review. But I am getting back into a reading schedule and am excited to post a review for 1st to Die, a Women’s Murder Club novel by James Patterson. This has been on my bookshelf for FOREVER as a friend got it at garage sale and knew I loved cop thrillers so gifted it to me when they couldn’t get into it. I know Patterson has a reputation for being… problematic so there was always something else I’d rather read. But I was in a mood towards the end of February so decided to give it a go.
Serial Killer Thriller
Four crime-solving friends face off against a killer in San Francisco in the Women’s Murder Club novel that started James Patterson’s thrilling series.
Each one holds a piece of the puzzle: Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector in the San Francisco Police Department, Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Jill Bernhardt is an assistant D.A., and Cindy Thomas just started working the crime desk of the San Francisco Chronicle.
But the usual procedures aren’t bringing them any closer to stopping the killings. So these women form a Women’s Murder Club to collaborate outside the box and pursue the case by sidestepping their bosses and giving each other a hand. The four women develop intense bonds as they pursue a killer whose crimes have stunned an entire city. Working together, they track down the most terrifying and unexpected killer they have ever encountered–before a shocking conclusion in which everything they knew turns out to be devastatingly wrong.
Full of the breathtaking drama and unforgettable emotions for which James Patterson is famous, 1st to Die is the start of the #1 New York Times bestselling series of crime thrillers.
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Man…. I don’t know where to start. I actually finished this book 3 weeks ago. It took me a couple of weeks to choose which of those three to read and then another week to finally open the sucker up. But only a week to devour this 462-page book. There were some plot points that even when I was deep in the thick of it had me rolling my eyes, but despite that the story kept me moving in part because of the nonstop action and in part because of the team-up of women in male-dominated professions supporting one another.
This book was published in 2001. I was in the thick of college and experiencing sexism on a previously inexperienced scale in my life. This book is problematic, but it was addressing a real issue that happened to women back in the day. While there is still gender bias today, obviously; it was much more blatant and far less policed in the 1990s and early 2000s. (Despite there being tons of laws already in place to address it.) I remember dealing with the “casual sexism” the same way Lindsey did. A caustic teasing remark or brush-off and aggravation to rage depending on the number of times it happened that day.
I remember having to fight twice as hard to be acknowledged as my male counterparts.
I remember having a long conversation with my female manager who was going to promote a male colleague to trainer over me and having to spend far too long to convince her I was the better choice and why.
So yeah, that felt real. The camaraderie between women struggling in male-dominated professions also felt real. It wasn’t just about that, there was some real development of why they liked and connected beyond that they were all slighted by men.
But the eye roll moments are spoilers so here is your spoiler alert warning.
Why did she fall for Raleigh? It is obnoxious how they get caught up in a whirlwind relationship in the middle of the biggest case of her career. And then her response to how it ends? I mean…. so problematic. IDK, maybe it would ring true with other women, but for me it was such an eye roll. I get that romance in the workplace happens. My marriage is a product of it. But I was 21 not 34. It was a temp job, not my career job, and I hadn’t been diagnosed with my degenerative disease yet.
In my 30s when I was diagnosed I had no bandwidth for romance with my partner. Admittedly, mine didn’t have a high chance of death at a young age and I was in a very established relationship so perhaps that accounts for the differences, but IDK. it jut really rubbed me the wrong way because in so many ways I really connected with Lindsay so to have this be so different from how I think I would respond is just… it was weird for me. And the prologue also seemed so incongruent.
Also, it had the perfect Gotcha with the villain and then it proceeded to screw it up. What had the potential to be a very women empowerment story ended up falling flat for me.
Which is a shame because it really gripped me. I could not put it down. I caught myself reading during breaks and pretty much any chance I got.
If you like a good thriller that makes you think, and you can overlook these problems, then this might be worth checking out.
I still haven’t decided if I am going to get the next books in the series. Gonna give it time to settle while I read some other books and if I still long to know what happens to the women’s murder club then I will give the next book a try.
Have you read 1st to Die? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
Until next time,