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Four crime-solving friends face off against a killer in San Francisco in the Women's Murder Club novel that started James Patterson's thrilling series.

Each one holds a piece of the puzzle: Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector in the San Francisco Police Department, Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Jill Bernhardt is an assistant D.A., and Cindy Thomas just started working the crime desk of the San Francisco Chronicle.

But the usual procedures aren't bringing them any closer to stopping the killings. So these women form a Women's Murder Club to collaborate outside the box and pursue the case by sidestepping their bosses and giving each other a hand. The four women develop intense bonds as they pursue a killer whose crimes have stunned an entire city. Working together, they track down the most terrifying and unexpected killer they have ever encountered--before a shocking conclusion in which everything they knew turns out to be devastatingly wrong.

Full of the breathtaking drama and unforgettable emotions for which James Patterson is famous, 1st to Die is the start of the #1 New York Times bestselling series of crime thrillers.

424 pages, Paperback

First published March 5, 2001

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About the author

James Patterson

1,276 books340k followers
Official US Site
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JIMMY Patterson Books

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author. Among his creations are Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, and Maximum Ride. His #1 bestselling nonfiction includes Walk in My Combat Boots, Filthy Rich, and his autobiography, James Patterson by James Patterson. He has collaborated on novels with Bill Clinton and Dolly Parton and has won an Edgar Award, nine Emmy Awards, and the National Humanities Medal.

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5 stars
135,974 (41%)
4 stars
111,133 (34%)
3 stars
60,625 (18%)
2 stars
12,974 (3%)
1 star
6,125 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,466 reviews
Profile Image for Zachariah.
Author 2 books25 followers
September 21, 2013
How in the world is he a best-selling author? His characters are shallow, his writing is mediocre, and when he writes about romance it feels mechanical and formulaic. This book had a twist at the end, but it was the worst sort of twist - the kind that you can't really predict because he probably didn't think to add it until after the book was already written - leaving out any traces of foreshadowing. I haven't read any of his other books and don't plan to now. When you have as little time for leisure reading as I do, you waste as little time as possible reading crap.

Also, he uses too much vulgarity and too much sex. It isn't even romantic sex; it's cheap.

I recommend this book only to people who have already read every other book in the world and would rather read something they haven't read then reread a good book.
Profile Image for The Book Maven.
496 reviews52 followers
August 29, 2013
Am I the only one that thinks that "Women's Murder Club" sounds not only hokey but juvenile and begging mockery?

The story: a psycho serial killer begins murdering newly married couples. 4 women, each with their own stake in cracking the case, are determined to nail the killer, and so band together outside of official channels to pool their resources and figure it all out. There is a red herring (if one could call it that) and a vaguely surprising twist at the end, but I read this with an unusual level of detachment and disinterest, and so was not impressed by anything.

I just wasn't hugely impressed with this book. Patterson's handling of the female characters and their relationships with each other were stilted, forced, and lacked nuance from beginning to end. I get the impression that Patterson does not truly grasp how women operate, and how their relationships develop.

As for the plot itself, well, it was vaguely diverting, but not much more.

The only halfway compelling facet of this mystery was the main character's struggle with an illness of which she has just learned; an illness that is potentially fatal, can advance rapidly (and in fact does), and that begins to make her realize her own sense of mortality, and how time might be running out.

I love books in which the female characters are young, put-together, strong, successful...I think what is the most disappointing about this book is that there is SO MUCH unrealized potential. Grrrr.
Profile Image for Lydia.
27 reviews1 follower
March 29, 2008
This is my first Patterson experience. The book was quite captivating and enthralling.There are half a million detective-serial killer novels out there... Patterson's are by far near if not at the top of the list! His chapters are so brisk you'll find your self half-way through the book before you know it. As well, the suspense is so well paced, and he also tosses in so many possibilities and clues to murderer's identity into the mix, there's no way you'll be able to set the book down until you have reached the finale. In addition to top-notch suspense, Patterson gives deep insight into the minds of our four heroine's, we know their dark secrets , and sympathize with them (especially Linday with the rare blood disorder, an original sub-plot)therefore we truly care about what happens to them. And as you approach the end of Patterson's 1st to Die, you breath of sigh of relief, only until the last page where Patterson chucks another twist at you, you nearly fall out of your seat in cardiac arrest! Never have I read a novel with a final twist so near the end of the book I can't help but applaud Patterson for being so clever. Reading it was like driving a car, through beautiful countryside relaxing and enjoying it- UNTIL you suddenly see the road sink below the horizon realizing your approaching a cliff at rapid speed! Kudos to Patterson, this book Thrills!
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
307 reviews1,314 followers
October 30, 2017
I tend to read Patterson's books when I don't want my brain to work that hard. 1st to Die fits that bill perfectly. I loved the concept of a group of extraordinary females - including a detective, a lawyer, and a journalist - working together to solve crimes. It was an easy to read, page-turning thriller featuring a complicated, gruesome killer of newly-weds, and more twists and turns than a twisty turny thing.
Profile Image for Paula.
540 reviews7 followers
June 30, 2020
I enjoyed this book so much. I really liked the idea behind the Women’s Murder Club. Four female friends-- homicide inspector Lindsay, medical examiner Claire, assistant D.A. Jill, and reporter Cindy—working together to come up with ideas to try to solve the grisly killings of newlywed couples. They each have something to bring to the table, they’re smart, and each have distinctive personalities. The secondary cast was also fantastic, interesting, and quite a colorful group of characters. The plot was fast-paced, had some good unexpected twists, and I loved the San Francisco setting. Overall, this was an extremely entertaining story that held my interest throughout.
Profile Image for Lorena.
1,003 reviews178 followers
December 15, 2007
I was curious about this series because it's obviously very popular, but I can't say I'm terribly impressed by it. First of all, the sappy "you go girl" female characters didn't seem very true to life to me. Patterson seems to think that name-checking Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos, plus a lot of hugging and randomly saying "I love you, girl", means he has created believable female characters. Not so much.

Also, I thought the plot was melodramatic, and the continual twists were more tedious than shocking or surprising.
Profile Image for Tea Jovanović.
Author 411 books663 followers
June 1, 2013
Slabo je poznata činjenica da sam prva dovela Patersonove knjige u Srbiju... i bila sam godinama urednik njegovih knjiga za različite izdavače... i da verovatno najbolje poznajem njegov bogati opus... :) Od svih raznovrsnih njegovih knjiga i serijala ovaj mi je najdraži, koji sam uporno "gurala" godinama... Ovde ne možemo pričati o "velikoj" književnosti ali zato možemo govoriti o pravom kvalitetnom komercijalnom autoru, koji vas uhvati i ne pušta od početka do kraja svake knjige... čak i one koju biste ocenili sa samo dve ili tri zvezdice... :) I možete pročitati i po tri knjige zaredom i tražiti još... Zato on piše i po 8 naslova godišnje... po jedan iz svakog serijala plus poneki stand alone naslov... :)
Profile Image for Erica Poole.
99 reviews3 followers
October 30, 2007
While I greatly enjoyed this and the next 2 books in the Women's Murder Club series, I was unable to continue reading the series with the same enjoyment due to comments that Patterson himself made in regards to it. He basically said that they were crap, that he just wrote them because he knew that they would sell, and he basically made me feel as if by reading them, and enjoying them, he was belittling me. I know it might be a bit extreme, but he ruined this series for me, as well as other series, such as those involving Alex Cross. Hard to enjoy work from an author who condescends to write for 'the masses'.
Profile Image for Diane.
156 reviews15 followers
November 28, 2007
My impulse as I read 1st to Die was to start editing. Overwriting, reduncancy, and sentimentality took the place of plot structure, character development, and freshness. Each of the four women was described in terms of her profession and ethnic background--sassy Black woman medical examiner with a faithful musician husband, sleek, sophisticated put-upon woman DA who gets no respect from her male superiors, perky newspaper reporter whose risk-taking allows her to get the scoops that more seasoned newspaper people are afraid to go after, and, of course, our depressed, troubled, obsessed main character who gets her life back just to lose everything and speaks in cliches throughout the narrative.

This book was a fast read, but I won't bother reading any of the other books in the series. I wonder if the TV show is any better? If so, it's only because some decent writers turned the script into something better than this book.
Profile Image for Tina.
2,389 reviews1 follower
June 26, 2022
This is a Thriller/Mystery, and it is the first book in the Women's Murder Club series. I really liked this book. I love the twisted. There was two stories in this one was the murder/solving the murders and the other was the health problem the office was learning to live with.
Profile Image for karen.
3,976 reviews170k followers
March 23, 2022
i'm binge-reading through this series MULTIPLE TIMES for a work thing right now, so i'm not gonna review them properly, but i gotta say—i did not expect there would be post-mortem oral sex.
Profile Image for Heidi.
141 reviews22 followers
January 7, 2009
I’ve been having trouble concentrating enough to read anything involving thought and effort so mindless mysteries/thrillers are just what the doctor ordered. This one, though? No thanks.

By page 45 I decided I hated James Patterson writing women. The head of the homicide division and the chief medical examiner of San Francisco are disgusted, sickened, and “have to turn away” from a body. What atrocity can these two strong, experienced, professional women not handle? A body with a single stab wound. What?! Oh, but the male detective? He’s just fine! He even steps in to offer our lead homicide investigator an arm to lean on! Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding me.

I found the interactions between the female friends not realistic in the slightest. I actually snorted with laughter a few times at how ridiculous and cliché they were.

Overall I found the writing to be stilted and not especially engaging. I can’t say I enjoyed it much at all. And I don’t normally notice these things but the man used the word, “chilling” so many times that, not only did I notice, but was really annoyed by it. Good writers don’t need to tell their readers how to react to their writing. I should find your descriptions “chilling” without being told to over and over and over again.

And my most petty complaint: The Women’s Murder Club. Four intelligent, urbane professionals and that’s the name of their group? Couldn’t he have come up with a name that wasn’t so hackneyed and immature? It might as well be The Four Females Who Find Killers Club or The Four Awesome Chicks Hunting Bad Guys Club. Would a homicide investigator, coroner, prosecutor, and reporter who were male have to create a “club” and name it something so hokey? Again, I think it goes back to Patterson’s inability to write women with any realism or truth. And his desire to create a series and characters that could easily be marketed and turned into a movie and/or TV show.

I enjoy gruesome, bloody thrillers but really doubt I can bring myself to skim through the rest of these books based solely on how poorly written I find the characters.

ETA: I just found out that James Patterson earned $50 million from June 2007 to June 2008. No, that’s not a typo. I’m equal parts horrified and inspired to write something that my biggest fans will excitedly describe as a “quick and easy read.”
Profile Image for Marwan.
47 reviews28 followers
June 11, 2017
The first James Patterson book I ever read, and one of the best I read this year. It has exceeded my expectations. Honestly I didn't know serial killer novels could be this fun. It's filled with suspense and thrill, and Just when you thought you've seen the last of the twists, another one jumps at you in the final pages.
The plot revolves around a serial killer who targets newlyweds at their wedding night, and it's up to the homicide inspector, Lindsay Boxer to track him down. However, in order to do that she needs the help of her friends in the women's murder club (Claire Washburn, Cindy Thomas, and Jill Bernhardt). Together they work hard in order to bring the killer to justice before he strikes again.
Profile Image for Jessica.
102 reviews16 followers
October 30, 2007
I love love love James Patterson, he's my new favorite author. His writing style is great, easy to read and fast. He explains things so you understand but without making you feel stupid. His characters are well developed in this series and are entertaining. Another thing I love, his chapters are very very short so you can always get to a good stopping place!
Profile Image for window.
490 reviews33 followers
September 14, 2012
I believe this will be the last James Patterson novel that I read. It was another of his titles with cardboard characters, stilted dialogue, and a plot with unlikely but convenient and contrived coincidences, which all equal a very thin read.

In this book, the women's "friendship" came across as canned and forced. I think the characters were developed solely on a quota system for just the perfect mix that could solve murders. It was almost as if I could hear him thinking, "Hmmm...let's see...I need a homicide detective (check), a medical examiner (check), and oh, maybe a reporter (check again). What else? Yes, of course! A district attorney too! (final check). Let's also make sure I represent the independent tough woman working in a man's world, the ethnic woman, the up-and-comer with moxie, and the uber-professional careerist. Done and done."

Perhaps his use of ghostwriters who write stories about characters they didn't envision doing things that someone else has imagined and outlined is what causes this flatness. Whatever the reason, the end result just isn't for me.

While I admire James Patterson's apparent marketing genius and entrepreneurial spirit in creating book outlines and farming out the actual storytelling and writing to other authors, he is now really just a brand cranking out books at breakneck speed. But at least he's honest about it. And he's right that his writing/outlines do appeal to a certain type of reader who wants a fast-paced read that doesn't require heavy lifting. Nothing wrong with that, but I'll be moving on.
Profile Image for  Li'l Owl.
398 reviews231 followers
August 5, 2019
This is an audio book that I listened to many, many years ago. It's narrated by Suzanne Toren who did an excellent job. I remember that I loved it so much that I listened to the entire series back to back, or at least up until the point where I had to wait for the next one to come out. Then I listened to it immediately. This was published in 2002 and I own all of them on Audible audio books. Now, the 16th one, 16th Seduction, is out so I've decided to start back to the beginning of the series for the second time. I didn't remember the intricate twists and turns it takes all the way up to the very end. I can definitely say that it was a great decision! I'm on to the second one, 2nd Chance.

Now about this book. I loved it!
What an incredible ending!! James Patterson and Maxine Paetro have coauthored an ingenious novel staring Lindsey Boxer, slowly unfolding how the Woman's Murder Club gets started, all the way thru to dynamic ending that I guarantee you will NOT forsee!! You will have to read it to find out anything more.
Profile Image for Joyce.
375 reviews52 followers
July 15, 2016
There's nothing specifically GOOD about this book, but damned if the pages don't practically turn themselves. It's pure junk food, and I mean that as a compliment insofar as processed food is very highly engineered by very skilled workers to be universally appealing to the widest possible market.

Patterson -- a top advertising exec before his writing career -- seems to have decided that in addition to his bestselling Alex Cross novels and film adaptations, he needed a series that appealed to women and television. Four chicks with different skills -- ensemble cast! Alex Cross works on the East Coast, so we'll set this series on the West Coast! They have complicated love lives and health problems and career setbacks for background color!

It's a sign of Patterson's professionalism that he doesn't make you feel like a market segment while you're actually reading. He wants to tell a good story, and shows real interest in his characters' feelings no matter how banal. I doubt I'll be reading another entry in this series, but new writers could do a lot worse than following this craftsman's lead.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,530 reviews790 followers
April 14, 2020
2003 review
The first James Patterson I've read... and first observations are you just know that the very short chapters, large text layout of these books is a result of customer research - and it works, the books feel so easy to read, as you fly through them! The series itself, despite being choc full of cliches and tropes, the core concept of a number of women from different professions and backgrounds working together to solve murders is all kinds of cool! 6 out of 12.

2010 review:
Women's Murder Club book 1: Over the top, predictable twists and full of holes… yet this bestseller is still an interesting worthwhile read; the first in the Women's Murder Club series. 4 out of 12.
Profile Image for Kon R..
229 reviews96 followers
March 20, 2023
If the speed at which you complete a book is an indication of how awesome it is then this one was a home run. I finished it in 2 sessions. Some may frown at my rating and argue this novel isn't all that thought-provoking or life changing. While true, I usually keep a book's genre in mind when deciding on a rating. As a mystery thriller this one was fantastic.

It takes the less popular approach of letting you see through the killer's eyes as opposed to a true whodunnit. Patterson does this, but I'm telling you, it does not take away from the mystery at all. If anything it messes with your head and lulls you into a false sense of knowing. There were twists and turns until the very end.

Unlike the train wreck known as The Thursday Murder Club, I really loved the Women's Murder Club. Each member was not only enjoyable, but contributed in unique ways. Even with the sometimes clashing personalities, they still held true to their loyalty to one another. Kudos to Patterson for taking the usually annoying reporter character in books and making her likeable. I was a bit skeptical about her in the beginning, but she quickly won me over.

I look forward to reading the sequel just to revisit my friends.
Profile Image for Nicole Leigh Reads.
210 reviews57 followers
October 14, 2022
Between 4 and 4.5 stars.

I have now read/tried five books by James Patterson. Two were just okay, one I had to give up. However "Roses are Red" in the Alex Cross series was very enjoyable to me and has held the top spot for me among my JP reads. It has now been dethroned by "1st to Die", the world's introduction to the Women's Murder Club.

Like all of Patterson's books, the pace was relentless. It was action packed all the way to the very last page. And all of the action seemed relevant, held my attention, and felt like progress was actually being made on a gruesome serial murder case targeting brand new newlyweds.

I enjoyed the protagonist, Lindsay Boxer, a lot. She does read like a woman cop written by a man, but on the better end of the spectrum. A few cliche and pandering/forced moments, but for the most part, she mostly came across as determined, driven, courageous, and human. Her counterparts, Cindy, Claire, and Jill, were also fun and interesting characters. They have some great dialogue all together.

The reveal at the end was predictable. In fact I didn't guess it because it seemed too obvious. So I suppose that counts as me "not seeing it coming" right? And the final, final twist was not as shocking as it was intended to be. In terms of the mystery of it all, that part I would have to call a bit disappointing.

The best parts of this book were the characters themselves, the quick moving action of solving the crime, and Lindsay's personal storyline, including the romance aspect. I actually felt that was a nice touch to this book. Some other reviewers don't agree, but considering the genre, I thought it was well done.

Both of Patterson's books I've enjoyed most come from his back catalog rather than newer works. I will meet the Murder Club again in book 2 in the future and see how far along I ride the ride with them!
Profile Image for Celia.
1,356 reviews86 followers
January 8, 2008
Oh god - I really hated the first book I read of Patterson's, but I'd read about the Women's Murder Club TV series, and thought it sounded kind of cool, so I wanted to try the books. I'm about half way through, and this is pretty awful so far, in the same way as the previous book I read. Clumsy, cliched writing, ridiculous characters, a really ridiculous killer... bah. Why are these popular? At least it's a quick read.


Skimmed my way frantically through the second half of the book in order to finish it. Awful, awful stuff - Patterson is an incredibly bad writer. And that "twist" at the end? Jesus christ. I felt embarrassed to be reading this on the train, in case someone was reading over my shoulder. Ergh.
Profile Image for Athena (OneReadingNurse).
668 reviews91 followers
February 11, 2020

The ending of this book just fried my brain, I couldn't have seen that coming from five miles away.

I held off on reading this series for so long because the concept of a women's murder club just sounded ridiculous, but it ended up being SO, SO good. Boxer and the women are smart, sassy, and everything else I could ever want from a group of characters.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is from Claire, the coroner: "I'm in shape. Round is a shape." All of the women have their own attributes but I love their senses of humor and excellent detective skills. I have to think Claire is my favorite though, her insights about being a doctor that didn't heal.... hit me as a medical person.

The killer was another Patterson masterpiece as well, I swear the man must be a closet psychopath. "What is the worst thing that anyone has ever done? Had he done it? Not yet....not quite yet" -the murderer. Sex crimes make me cringe a bit and these were particularly upsetting to the detectives, and oh my the twist at the end made them all even worse.

The plot in itself is interesting, a killer is targeting brides and grooms who were recently married and leaving them in utterly humiliating situations. What was the link? What could be motivating this person? We meet Boxer, then the reporter, then the coroner, then the assistant DA...and the women's murder club is born as they compare insider notes to try to crack the case and catch this sick f*cker.

One thing I always do as well is rip apart any medical things that I find in books that aren't really accurate... but Patterson does his research. I can't do that here, I think he did a pretty good job describing Neglis and the exhausting treatment that some chronic conditions carry. I wish other authors would do their medical research so they don't sound ridiculous.

I am so bad at summaries but I absolutely fully recommend giving these books a try. Starting this series made me think about detectives in general, and the arc that is presented for them to follow. 20 years, 20 books later where will these people be? Boxer started out a hot suicidal mess and I groaned, watched her form some bonds, and … well read it and see. So her arc going forward will be putting her life back together and moving forward, and those arcs are ok. There's nothing wrong with a train wreck detective but I do think I prefer detectives who have their shit together.

A full five stars for 1st to Die and one more absolutely fkked up Patterson psychopath :O
Profile Image for Anu.
365 reviews883 followers
April 2, 2018
Meh. Quite forgettable, honestly, but it was exactly what I needed after the emotional turmoil I went through following my previous read. I needed fluff; either a laugh out loud romantic comedy or a conventional, highly predictable "thriller", and really, I wasn't quite in the mood for romance. Anyway, this was "high-octane", overly dramatic, and very fast. I mean, I'm feeling generous, because this book really doesn't deserve two stars. But, sigh, circumstances.

I'm sure Patterson is a bestselling author for the same reason that John Grisham or Dan Brown is one. Okay, well, I don't know the reason, but I know it has to be the same. When I figure it out, I'll let you all know. So this book is supposed to be dark and gritty and action-packed, but truthfully, it was long and rambling and unnecessarily dramatic. No, really, I was a little put off by the prologue, but I trudged along because I'm a little trooper. I wasn't disappointed per se, because I was expecting...this, but sometimes, I would like these guys to try maybe just a little to surprise me. There is only one place I see Patterson actually try, and he fails quite badly at there as well. You see, he tries too hard to imitate the voice of a woman, which, he really can't. Maybe just stick to third person POV, yeah, buddy? That's bearable. The first person POV is not. It is quite insipid and irritating, in fact.

If you watch crime procedurals as much as I do, firstly, you need to stop, it is unhealthy, but secondly and more importantly, you'll be able to figure this out quite fast. Basically, there's a serial killer who likes killing newly-wed couples and pays special attention to the brides. Basically. The twists were bland and uninteresting, the "strong, female characters" were caricatures of any number of female cops, medical examiners, DAs, and crime reporters you would see on criminal procedurals. There's helluva lot of drama, and that made my head hurt. The romance is gratuitous, as is its unexpected end. Lindsay has way too many problems, way too much baggage, and why Patterson wants to make the poor woman suffer more, is beyond me.

If you want to read good fictional thrillers about serial killers, read The Alienist by Caleb Carr or the Inspector Thomas Lynley series by Elizabeth George. Look, I didn't read this book to trash it, truthfully. I knew what I was getting into, and I wanted it, not because I'm a masochist (which I am), but because I needed a palate cleanser. So I'm going to refrain from saying more. I mean, it served its purpose well, so all isn't lost. I don't recommend it unless you want to read something with the same level of detachment I did. Then, by all means, lose yourself in the book. Or maybe just lose the book. That would be a lot better for your health.
Profile Image for Ashley Baez.
89 reviews36 followers
March 14, 2019
Kind of, sort of contains vague spoilers.

I know a lot of people criticize James Patterson for having a simplistic writing style and creating characters that lack “substance,” but sometimes it’s nice to grab one of these easy-to-read thrillers. It didn’t occur to me until I began reading 1st to Die that the TV series, Women’s Murder Club, was based off of these novels. I used to watch that show and I actually enjoyed it. Too bad it only last a couple of seasons, go figure.

I thought the plot to James Patterson’s first novel in the series was a good one. I liked Lindsey Boxer’s tough, no bullshit character. Claire was also a favorite for me, the sassy medical examiner. I enjoyed the chemistry of the four women throughout the story, and I’m interested to see how Patterson expands on that throughout this series.

My one reservation with this one ***spoiler alert*** was the already used up idea that the killer uses a cunning disguise. Haven’t we already seen this with Gary Soneji in his early Alex Cross novels? I also recall that being a thing in a later Cross novel. I just feel as if that’s overplayed at this point, but maybe serial killers all have expert makeup skills under their belts. Who knows.

The ending was a bit of a shocker. No, I don’t need every story to have a happy ending, but I felt that Lindsey didn’t really get to enjoy happiness for long before having it ripped away from her, all in the first book.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed this one and look forward to continuing the series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 16 books1,480 followers
August 11, 2018
Early on Patterson was one of my favorites. I loved the first five or so of the Alex Cross book, Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls... Great stories and great characters. I stayed with Patterson until in one of his books twin brothers were using an albino tiger as a weapon in serial killings. At that point he jumped the proverbial shark (or albino tiger as it were).
I'm currently writing a new series with a strong female protagonist and was asking around readers and authors for good examples and The Murder Club by Patterson came up not just once but several times. I picked up a copy and gave it a try. I really liked it. The writing was clean and Patterson dropped me right into the story and endeared the character in the first few pages. The structure and writing was masterful. I read the book in three sittings. I saw the set-ups, the foreshadowing and still he fooled me with the endings. He did flip the ending one too many times though.
What I didn't go for too much was the lack of vetting the police procedural part. It read like he just took it off the top of his head and did no research: Three times the character flipped off the safety on a .38 (they don't have safeties). He referrers to a murder as a One eight Oh, when it's 187. It goes on but you get the idea. Also, the use of an earthquake as a plot tool to facilitate an important plot point hit the albino tiger meter yet again. Normally this kind of thing knocks me out of the book but not this time. The characters were so likable that I wanted to see what happened next.
For me, with the really great books, I find myself thinking of the characters after the book is finished, not so in this case. And even though the characters are likable enough to hold me in the story they were not quite fleshed out enough to become real. I think this was do to the structure. The short chapters make the story run very quickly, almost at breakneck speed which is good but in this case it turns out to be a detriment to the final outcome...a great book that stays with you.
I already purchased the next in the Murder Club series, 2nd Chance and it's on deck to be read. I'll stay with the series until that albino tiger jumps and bites me in the a--. So I would recommend this book with reservations.
David Putnam
Author of the Bruno Johnson series.

Profile Image for Amy J.
101 reviews49 followers
November 16, 2021
What happens when a Medical Examiner, detective, reporter and prosecutor come together? You for the Women's Murder club which is dedicated to solving difficult cases.

This is a fun, fast read which is just right at certain times. It is fairly predictable from a plot, but sometimes that is just fine too. This is not the book to pick up if you want something deep and thought provoking.

I enjoy how the women come together and join forces to solve the crime. There is the seemingly mandatory romantic fling, which goes with many of these books. I am not sure it was needed, but it worked.
Profile Image for Diana.
297 reviews22 followers
September 6, 2018
4-1/2 Stars!

It’s been a few years since I’ve read James Patterson. I considered myself a fan in the past but then I felt disappointed after reading Zoo, so I took a break. The Women’s Murder Club series ended up being a good choice for me. This is the Patterson I remember loving to read. Suspenseful and unpredictable.
Profile Image for Rob.
511 reviews103 followers
February 8, 2018
For me James Patterson can be a hit or a miss. On this occasion 1st to Die was a hit.
Typical of the James Patterson format, short chapters, strong plot, fast paced and more twists and turns than you can poke a stick at. To be honest, there was probably too many twists and turns. By the time the last one happened I was getting just a tad over them.

The main theme of the book is, there is someone out there getting his kicks from killing the bride and groom on their wedding night. And of coarse once is not enough.

It was good that James Patterson made the movers and shakers in this tale female. A poke in the eye to the dominant male hierarchy.
Having four women from four different professions getting together to solve the murders made a nice change from the norm.

This was a entertaining read and comes with a 4 star recommendation.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,161 reviews2,010 followers
January 7, 2015
Oh that was excellent! I really enjoy James Patterson 's style, short chapters, fast paced storyline, and characters I can relate to. This book even had a nice little romance even if it did end sadly. I loved the way I knew who the killer was, then I didn't and then right at the last minute when I thought it was all done and dusted back came yet another killer. Fantastic. I look forward to reading the rest of this series.
Profile Image for Anna Avian.
393 reviews50 followers
December 11, 2020
The writing was stilted and not especially engaging. Patterson's depiction of the female characters felt forced and unrealistic. I don't think he actually understands how female relationships work. Some of the plot twists were just tedious and predictable.
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