3rd Degree by James Patterson


Pros: Quick read, but otherwise, there’s not a lot here.

Cons: The main story makes very little sense. A golden opportunity was wasted,


3rd Degree is the third book in The Women’s Murder Club series. Most of the books are written as collaborations. In this case James Patterson has paired with Andrew Gross. The series features four women who work together to solves crimes in California. There’s Lindsay the detective, Claire the medical examiner, Cindy the reporter, and Jill the district attorney. These four friends combine their talents to solve some very grisly crimes.

In this book, CEO’s and high-powered financial geniuses are turning up dead. The killer is ruthless, not caring if innocent people are killed along with the intended target. Eventually the killer, who calls himself August Spies, contacts Cindy. It just so happens that a huge economic summit is scheduled to take place in a few days. The killer wants Cindy to use the media to effect changes at that summit. If not, some high-powered attendee of the summit will die every three days. And by the way, the Vice President of the United States just happens to be an attendee.

Thus the four women have their hands full. Well, to be accurate, two of the women have their hands full. Lindsay is working the case full-time (when she’s not developing a romance with the Homeland Security Deputy who’s been assigned to help). And Cindy has no choice but to stay involved as she’s become the killer’s messenger. Claire examines the bodies but otherwise has very little to do in this book. And Jill is dealing with problems at home.

In fact, Jill’s marital problems become a full subplot of this book. Finding out that she is a victim of spousal abuse was shocking. I was disappointed, though, with how Patterson chose to conclude this portion of the story. Here was an opportunity to really delve into an abusive relationship, and all of the pain associated with it. As well as an opportunity to see justice prevail as the husband got what he deserved. But Patterson didn’t go that way. Instead he went a different direction, one that left me feeling empty.

As far as the main story goes, it was disappointing as well. I found the bad guys to be completely unrealistic. Although Patterson tries to explain their motives, he fails to make me believe them. Even occasionally switching to the killer’s point of view did little to help me understand exactly what was going on in his head. The story just seemed very “scattered” to me. Going off in several directions, none of them making a whole lot of sense. It’s not even clear exactly what the killer wants Cindy to do. If you’re going to make demands, at least make them clear!

The ending, as predictable as they come, seemed rushed. As if they suddenly realized they’d filled their quota of pages so it was time to wrap it up.

The book is a quick read, as are all of the books in this series. With extremely short chapters (usually just a couple pages) and short, choppy paragraphs, the books are meant to be flown through. But a quick read isn’t the same thing as a great read. Far from it. The series is fun, and it’s nice to follow the same characters through several stories, but this book is very skippable.

1st To Die
2nd Chance
4th Of July
The 5th Horseman
The 6th Target
7th Heaven
The 8th Confession
The 9th Judgment
10th Anniversary
11th Hour
12th of Never
Unlucky 13
14th Deadly Sin

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