Alex Telander's Reviews > 1st to Die

1st to Die by James Patterson
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Jan 23, 2011

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Some of you may be familiar with James Patterson’s Alex Cross series; there is currently a film-adaptation of one of Patterson’s novels, Along Came a Spider starring Morgan Freeman. 1st to Die is Patterson’s latest achievement and it marks the first installment of a series he will develop further in the future.

The setting: there is a killer going round the Bay Area, taking the lives of newly-weds on the night of their honeymoon or the day of their wedding. The SFPD is pretty much stumped, slowly piecing the evidence together, but not actually getting very far – leads leading to cul-de-sacs.

The characters: four woman who unite, all from different walks of life, to solve the case and catch the serial killer. The main character, Lindsay Boxer, is an investigator for the homicide division for the homicide division for the SFPD; she wants most to succeed, but she is concurrently battling a devastating illness that saps more of her energy each day she sets about solving this bloody investigation. Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, friend to Lindsay, she provides important details that help the case. Jill Bernardt is the Assistant D.A. who wants to catch just this person just as much as the others, hoping to try him and put him away fro a long time. Cindy Thomas is a small-time reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, but she has been recently promoted to the crime desk at the newspaper: her research provides valuable evidence for the case, while she keeps the country up-to-date on the circumstances of the case, that is when Lindsay agrees to the press release. Together they are the Women’s Murder Club.

The novel: Patterson has managed to create a whole new world in the familiar territory of the Bay Area. He dives beneath the ordinary, everyday façade of San Francisco and reveals an invisible underlining that is witnessed by few. The reader is taken on a joyride of shocking and exciting proportions, as the quartet meet and bring the clues together, steadily catching up to the killer, until the climactic finish, with Patterson’s inevitable twists surprising the reader in a tour-de-force conclusion.

Originally published on May 14th 2001 ©Alex C. Telander.

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