14th Deadly Sin – a book review

Author:  James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

I give this latest book of the Women’s Murder Club series four out of five stars.  It is a fast-moving book with engaging characters – a standard with Patterson’s work.  I must confess that I am not a series regular, and have read only one or two other books in this series, so my review has the advantage of being almost from the perspective of a first-timer to the series.

First, what I liked.  Filled with strong female leads, as the series title suggests, these characters are by no means one-dimensional.  They struggle with relationship issues, career challenges, and the like.  Lindsay, the main character, struggles to balance life as a police detective and a new mother with husband Joe Molinari.  Patterson and Paetro do a good job going back and forth between the seedy and crime-ridden police world and the family scenes.  Any mom with a career could appreciate the joy and the struggle of trying to balance these two different sides of life.  The scenes with Lindsay’s baby daughter Julie do much to bring some humanity back into focus amidst the de-humanizing aspects of Lindsay’s police cases.  Yuki has a big shake-up in her career – which I won’t spoil for anyone with all the details.  Suffice it to say that she follows her heart and as a result faces challenges both at work and at home that allow her character to grow.  In the process, she questions her abilities, loyalties, and motivations for being a lawyer in the first place.  The book was entertaining and kept me engaged throughout.  The material regarding the police cases was interesting and kept me wondering what would happen next.

Now for what I didn’t like.  I thought there were a few scenes that were un-necessarily graphic in their description of torture.  Do I really need to know someone’s eyelids were sliced off while they were still alive?  If the person was tortured to death with a knife, I know what I need to know about how brutal the killer can be.  To me this is a turn-off and doesn’t add anything to the plot, and certainly not to my enjoyment of the book.  I felt that so many cops died in this story that it was world war three – a bit over the top in my opinion for the setting of the story, and it detracted from the believability factor a bit.  Lastly, both Lindsay and Joe Molinari end up in remarkably similar dangerous situations where bad guys get the drop on them, then both escape in record time and in a similar fashion – it was something I might expect from a first-time author, not from Patterson and one of his veteran co-authors.

For fans of the series and those who like an entertaining police procedural with plenty of supporting characters and storylines to keep you engaged, I would recommend this book.

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