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by James Patterson
Headline, March 2004
278 pages
ISBN: 0755300238

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

This is the third in James Patterson's series known as the Women's Murder Club. Inspector Lindsay Boxer is out for a morning jog when she sees a townhouse destroyed by a bomb. Another prominent businessman is soon murdered and Boxer realises that she and her team are not only up against a serial killer, but also someone with an altogether more devious motive. She calls in the other members of the Women's Murder Club, unaware that one of them is in serious danger.

When they published this book, Headline did one of the worst things possible. The cover is emblazoned with wording constituting a major spoiler. This leaves the reader waiting for the event to happen, and a great deal of the suspense is lost, although Patterson does still manage to dazzle the reader to some extent. This is nothing more than a marketing ploy to sell even more copies than usual. Is this a sign that Patterson's fan base is dwindling? This would seem very unlikely, as no matter how lacklustre a novel Patterson produces, the copies fly off the shelves in no time at all.

With this element of suspense denied us, the book soon becomes somewhat mundane. Some of the dialogue is distinctly on the weak side and there is none of the harder feel that accompanies the Alex Cross novels. The usual fast pace and trademark short chapters are there, but as with recent novels such as THE LAKE HOUSE, 3RD DEGREE will leave the reader unfulfilled.

The recent decline in quality is undoubtedly due to the speed at which successive novels are published, which is disappointing. If Patterson were to return to producing less, but meatier books, such as KISS THE GIRLS, this could only enhance his sales and would restore some faith in his writing. Eventually, the repetitive nature of his writing will harm his sales and reputation.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, June 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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