1st To Die – The first book in the Women’s Murder Club series
Pros: Well-developed characters, intriguing mystery.
Cons: A few “girlie” moments I didn’t care for.
James Patterson’s 1st To Die is the first book in what would come to be known as the Women’s Murder Club series. This is the book where the four women first get together and decide to form a club, where they each contribute their resources to help solve San Francisco’s crimes.
Lindsay is the main character in this book, and the story is told from her point of view (and occasionally from the killer’s point of view). She’s an inspector with the San Francisco police force, hoping to make lieutenant. Her best friend, Claire, is the medical examiner. Cindy is a newspaper reporter, whose pushy ways land her smack in the middle of Lindsay’s current case, and the two form a fast friendship. Rounding out the club is Jill, the assistant district attorney.
The current case is a gruesome one. The “bride and groom killer” is killing happily married couples, before their honeymoon is over. And the killer is not content with just killing them, he does despicable things to the brides, after their deaths.
Obviously, the four women are outraged, and want to see this man brought to justice. But the case proves tricky, and the deaths are mounting. And, as if Lindsay doesn’t have enough trouble already, she’s dealing with a serious medical problem, as well.
I liked the main storyline. This killer is diabolical, for sure, but was never boring. Getting to “listen” to his thoughts made the case even more exciting. We, the readers, get to know the killer a little bit, and know in advance of the police what his next move will be. Yet, we don’t really know who he is, so there’s still plenty of mystery for us to solve.
I also liked the subplot involving Lindsay’s medical problems. Besides being an interesting distraction from the main story, it gave us an opportunity to watch as a woman re-prioritizes those things in her life that she thought were important. I thought this aspect of Lindsay’s development was an important one – one that helped her grow into a much more likable person.
Sadly, there was plenty not to like about this book, too. First, there’s Cindy’s character. Her pushiness was a complete turn-off for me. She muscled her way into the first murder scene in a way that could have put the case in jeopardy. Lindsay should have been furious with this woman. Instead they became instant best buddies. I found that to be completely unrealistic.
I also didn’t like the huge amount of “female bonding” that took place when the women got together. At times, when they should have been focusing on the job at hand, they were too busy yammering on about their sex lives. This book isn’t an episode of Sex And The City, for crying out loud!
Yet, with all the time the women spent together, Lindsay waited a ridiculously long time before she confided about her illness to them. That didn’t ring true to me, either. You’re disappearing for hours at a time for your treatments, you’re fainting in hallways, I think you should tell your friends (not to mention your boss, and most importantly your new boyfriend) what’s going on with you!
Speaking of the boyfriend – his and Lindsay’s relationship is just wrong. On so many levels. Did I mention that he’s her new partner and they’ve barely known each other for five minutes before they’re an item? Why do so many authors write about single female leads, but always feel the need to pair them up?
My only other complaint with this book was that assumptions played too big a role. At one point, a major clue is missed, due to the investigator making a huge assumption. And at several points, Lindsay made assumptions, but treated them as if they were facts.
Still, these complaints are fairly minor. All in all, it’s not a bad book, and not a bad start to the series. The mystery is a good one, with several twists along the way. The characters are well-developed, and I was left looking forward to more Women’s Murder Club cases.