First to Die

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

James Patterson, famous for the graphic and gruesome murder depictions in his Alex Cross series, offers a slightly less horrific style in this first book of a new series about Lindsay Boxer, a homicide inspector for the San Francisco Police Department.

Battling double life-threatening situations, Lindsay fights a potentially fatal disease attacking her own body while she tracks a cold-blooded killer. In cahoots with her are three female friends: a medical examiner, an assistant district attorney, and a reporter assigned to the crime desk of the San Francisco Chronicle. The four jokingly call themselves the Women’s Murder Club as they share insider knowledge of the crimes that have left their city in shock and are spreading across the United States: the serial killings of brides and grooms shortly after their weddings. A suspect is in jail and the case seems to be solved halfway through the novel, but the conclusions formed are wrong and the killer will strike again. The fast- paced action moves at sound-bite speed as some of the shortest chapters on record shift the reader from one event to another. Readers who regularly skip whole chapters in mysteries because they cannot bear to wade through a lengthy look at a different character’s life will love this format with two- and three-page chapters. The young inspector’s hopes for life and love take bitter turns as events unfold, and the surprise ending leaves one satisfied that James Patterson has a new winner on his hands.