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4.4 out of 5 stars195
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on 12 February 2010
This was my second attempt at reading James Paterson. My first was the awful 'Hide and Seek' which I didn't like, never finished and nearly stopped me reading this fab book.

'The 5th Horseman' is the fifth book in the Women's Murder Club series. The book and evidently its predecessors, focuses on four very different, successful and capable female characters - Lyndsey (the high ranking, no nonsense policewoman); Claire (the city Medical Examiner); Cindy (the tough news reporter) and finally Yuki (making a name for herself as a top lawyer).

The story carefully and successfully weaves these four women together in a plot focused on the mysterious deaths of patients at a local hospital and the murders of young girls in a seemingly 'serial killer'-esque fashion.

The are some wonderful insights in to 'hospital death symdrome' (where hospital staff blunders, mistakes and errors can and do cost lives) as well as the concept of suing hospitals for compensation - which is worse, the odd error (resulting in an unnecessary death) or having no hospital at all (because its been litergated out of existence). Some food for thought, which I found especailly appealling as it challenged the reader to stop, think and wonder 'what would I do?'. It also nicely ties courtroom and street police action together well, keeping both stories current and yet running seperately alongside.

My only gripe would be that the story is told from the aspect of Lyndsey Boxer, the (too butch) policewoman. She is the least interesting of the four principle leads and her overly aggressive 'we must stop the bag guy' routine is particually grating, especially when she is shown struggling to balance her work and personal life. Hopefully other novels in this series may switch and swap around between the leads, giving different viewpoints.

Anyway, that complaint aside, I highly recommend this book - its a great thriller, easy to read (short snappy chapters) and a damn good story to boot!! Enjoy!!
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I've read all the books in this series up to this one and am eagerly looking forward to the 6th!

I'm really loving this Women's Murder Club series and, as I've said in previous reviews, I feel as though I know the four leading ladies personally. Each woman bringing her own story to the plot and their lives weave together in an unbreakable bond of friendship and professional knowledge to help solve crimes.

This time the main plot is mysterious deaths of patients at a local hospital. At first it seems as though the deaths are natural causes despite the fact that most of the patients are on the road to recovery and are ready to be discharged. It's difficult to say enough so as not to give too much away and spoil it for new readers, save to say when one of the ladies' Mum is admitted to hospital and subsequently dies, these unexplained hospital deaths become very personal and Lindsay is determined to get to the bottom of the deaths and expose the murderer and leaves no stone unturned and no one is free from investigation, from cleaner to top consultant. A big hospital "cover up" is subsequently "uncovered". As usual, this plot is interwoven with other minor plots and stories.

I like the main character, Lindsay Boxer and disagree with the opinion that she seems 'butch'. I've got to know her throughout the series so far and so understand her behaviour and reactions.

As has already been said in other reviews, the chapters are quite short, which I like. The other four books I've read in this series are the same. It makes it easier to read when you are short of time, but also when you want to read "just one more chapter"!
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on 16 February 2006
I was so excited to get an advance copy of "The Fifth Horseman!" I have been a fan of the Woman's Murder club series since the first book. This time out Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer is helped by the newest member of the Club, Yuki Castellano, to look into a series of strange deaths occurring at a local hospital. Patients dying just prior to release from the hospital. The Mysterious deaths have been looked into by Specialists form around the nation, but no answers come forth. Are these strange deaths just a terrible coincidence? Or is there some maniac playing death angel? The investigation is hamstrung by the hospital administration which fears the truth may ruin its reputation. Of the 5 books in the series I thought this was the most suspenseful. Paetro/Patterson prose is clean and direct, he does not waste time on unnecessary descriptions but sticks to the heart of the story (I actually should be giving credit to Maxine Paetro as I have a feeling she wrote most of this book). If you do like this style of writing in your thrillers I also recommend "Tourist in the Yucatan!"
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on 8 May 2006
This seemed like a book just cobbled together - two main themes running through and one of them was sewn up LONG before the end!!! When this series started the writing and stories were excellent - somewhere along the way James Patterson has sold out to laziness (using a joint writer) and in this book it really shows. I won't be buying any more in the series.
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VINE VOICEon 28 May 2006
If you like your hero (or is it heroine) computer-generated without depth of character who gets the job done with remarkable ease, then these two boxer-shorts are for you. Two stories in one which, for me, doesn't really work on a combined level. Certainly, the author knows how to make you want to turn the page. I read the 338 pages in three hours, mainly because the book has probably 250 pages of the written word. I'm glad I didn't pay the whacking £17.99 and I'll probaly read "Mary, Mary" because I've already been given it! If you want a bit of Chandler or MacDonald or Cornwell or Reichs, that's what you'll get - a bit (or possibly a byte) but forget depth of story (stories) and you can easily forget the Women's Murder Club - which is perhpas just as well.
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VINE VOICEon 11 September 2006
Around the time Mr Patterson gained a stable of co-writers and a logo, quality of his output began to slide. In this novel it reaches a new low. It is harder than it ought to be to distinguish between the different characters here, because none of them receives any attention beyond their immediate contribution to the narrative and the decent dialogue that might provide insights into character just isn't there; instead, the cardboard cast members seem voiced by Enid Blyton.

Others have already commented on the bizarre fusion of two entirely unrelated stories, one of which simply ends with a third of the book left to go. The old James Patterson would have had a clever device to link them together in a shock denoument, but the old James Patterson doesn't seem to have participated in the creation of this book.

I am frustrated that the man responsible for the superb 'Kiss the Girls' and 'Along Came a Spider' has fallen so far. Perhaps it is time for him to write a book by himself and to spend more than a month or two writing it.
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on 16 August 2010
This is a book for a traveller or something to read in the loo! Not a substantial book at all. Well written, but what I would call 'empty' insofar as it had very short chapters, with big spaces in between lines so you think you're buying a big fat book for a long read - when the reality is it's a quick read ideal for a journey. In other words, I doubt I shall indulge in another of this particular author's books again! So disappointing; I buy a book to get lost in. If I want a magazine, I buy a magazine - far cheaper too. I do not recommend this if you enjoy a seriously good long read. Alternatively, might be an ideal book for a hospital patient, as it doesn't take a lot of concentration. An author to remember next time I go to hospital either for "test's" or patient visiting. Neither did it have me longing to get back to where I left off. For me, NOT page turner, but a page leaver till I have time again. Well plotted, although there are really two stories going on here - methinks in order to hold the reader's interest, and not from any literary idealism, though the idea of a 'woman's murder club' is rather original. Personally, I think Agatha Christie is better for a quickie read - still the original and The Best for this sort of thing.
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on 27 March 2008
There is something about James Patterson that infuriates me in recent years and this book is the perfect example. Whilst I don't agree with the current fashion which is to bash the author and utterly pan his books. I do agree that his earlier work (Cross early not his very first books) was superior. Having said that whenever I am reading or have read his books I do want to be critical: the happy characters seem to be sickly happy where everything is like having an picnic in a meadow in the glorious sun; The killers all seem to be generic - I wish JP would not reveal the inner dialogue of the killer in some of his books; the writing seems to be getting more and more basic and the books shorter but more expensive. Nevertheless the simple fact of the matter is that the stories are gripping and you want to finish them. The short, punchy chapters work. For that reason alone I can not give him one star ratings ever.

The 5th Horseman typifies all of the above but their is no denying that it is an intriguing and enjoyable story. The ending however seems a bit odd. Not sure what was achieved by inserting a twist and resolving it in a matter of lines other than to leave the reader feeling cheated.
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on 25 February 2006
I bought this book when it was released but only this week have had time to read it. I started reading it Thursday and finished it today. From the beginning I was immediately engrossed and simply could not put the book down. The fast rapid pace of the short chapters makes this latest of the womans murder club yet even more compelling for a read. The Womans Murder Club series is my favourite out of James Patterson, the characters are believable and I can't help but put myself in the shoes of Lieutanant Lyndsey Boxer at times! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good read, I loved it. James Patterson never fails us and i'd like to offer credit to his co-author here too, Maxine Paetro because together they have made this book the way it is. Simply addictive to read!
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on 17 March 2006
What can I say about James Patterson books but that they are the best,as for The 5th Horsman it is a great follow on fron 4th of July.The detective work is good,the friendships are real and all the characters are so real.So down to the story people dying in hospital when they seem better,and the finding of the young girls bodies,so much happens in the book it is hard to think of what to say as his books are so good, he knows how to keep you on the edge it is a book I could not put down,can't wait for the next follow up book.Keep up the good work.
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