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7TH HEAVEN
by James Patterson with Maxine Paetro
Arrow, December 2008
473 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 0099514540


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Now out in small paperback format is another episode in the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. This series has been appearing under the names of both authors from the beginning and one cannot help wondering what role each author plays. I also wonder if, perhaps, the finished product might have been more effective had they had only one author.

The book opens rather unpleasantly, for all it is Christmas, with two men who, in normal circumstances would present a pleasant public face, breaking into a house, tying up the owners, opening the owners' Christmas presents - then burning down the house, complete with its human occupants. The malefactors' nicknames, the reader learns, are Hawk and Pidge. How charming and endearing that they even possess nicknames!

Homicide inspector Lindsay Boxer, from whose point of view the tale is told, is having a get together with her friends and fellow members of the Women's Murder Club when her boss, Jacobi, calls to tell her they now have a lead in the case of Michael Campion, the young son of the former governor of California. Michael had disappeared some months previously but now a prostitute calling herself Junie Moon is claiming that Michael died whilst having congress with her and that she and her boyfriend successfully butchered the corpse and made it disappear. But Junie's boyfriend, naturally enough, denies knowing more about Michael Campion than has appeared in the media.

At the insistence of the ex-governor, Assistant District Attorney and Women's Murder Club member Yuki Castellano will prosecute a rather shaky case against Junie, while serial arsonists Hawk and Pidge spread terror in the hearts of those San Franciscans who own some of the city's most beautiful homes.

The characterisation seemed to me to be a bit on the light side, although Hawk and Pidge are sufficiently evil to make up for any lack in the other characters. The incineration theme is especially shocking so that no reader empathy with the duo is likely to evolve.

The ending, ah, the ending: in a way, I felt it could be seen as a bit of a copout, but, from another point of view, it might be seen as inevitable.

While there are some unpleasant scenes, for some reason, I felt they lacked edge. The personal stories of the Club members, such as were told, were quite interesting but, on the whole, I didn't feel Patterson had given his best.

Reviewed by Denise Pickles, January 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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