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by James Patterson
Little, Brown, January 2005
368 pages
ISBN: 0446614831

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

San Francisco Homicide lieutenant Lindsay Boxer has just finished jogging with her friend Jill Barnhardt when she's witness to a bomb going off in her neighborhood. Immediately terrorism is suspected and when a note is found they have the name of the guilty party -- August Spies.

Involved in the investigation, Lindsey's attention is soon also captured by Joe Molinari, deputy director of the Office of Homeland Security who has been assigned to find this new homegrown terrorist organization.

At the same time, Lindsey finds out that Jill's husband is being mentally and physically abusive. Already relying on her Women's Murder Club fellow members, three other powerful professional women in the SF area to help her in her police investigation, Lindsey calls on the group to remain connected and strong until they find out what has been happening to Jill.

In this, the third installment of the Women's Murder Club series, 3RD DEGREE is written in Patterson's usual short, fast chapters and it moves along like a whirlwind. Its 400 pages can be easily read in one day. The violence and politics used are frightening and realistic. The dread that everyone feels when the homegrown ruthless terrorists blackmail the authorities and insist their demands be met or more bombs and a deadly toxin will be released to kill hundreds of citizens rings true in modern America.

Unfortunately, that same realism can't be said about the main and incidental characters of this book. None of the relationships ring true and the burgeoning love affair comes across with nothing of the supposed passion shared between the lovers.

If you're a fan of James Patterson and can forgive him his indulgences and can resign yourself to the fact that Lindsay, her friends, and her new beau are not supposed to be a realistic representation of the world we live in, you will have a great time reading 3RD DEGREE. It is, after all, a fast and entertaining read.

But if you're looking for realism in police procedure, in the conflict of interest between professionals, or in interpersonal relationships between women friends and people starting off on a new romance in a factual world, 3RD DEGREE comes up short and is a disappointment.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, February 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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