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Customer Review

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars Huge improvement over 8th but..., 31 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: 9th Judgement: (Women's Murder Club 9) (Paperback)
9th Judgement is the 9th book in the Women's Murder Club series. I still think book one of this series is my favourite, but despite (sometimes big) flaws, the rest of the series is good to, right up until book 8. 8th Confession was a joke. All the characters got turned on their heads, the writing was very high school, and the plots weak with little interest. I wasn't going to bother with this one until it was out in paper back, but my sister wanted it sooner, so having loved most of the series, I decided to give it one last shot.

In many ways, this is a huge improvement from 8th. It's got strong intertwining plots and the much more grown-up feel the rest of the series had before 8th again. The usual style for these books is two different cases, over lapping and sometimes connected, with Lindsay Boxer and her homicide team plus her girls, trying to solve them. There are two clear cases here, both of which get decent page time and explanation. Unlike JP's latest Michael Bennett book where it felt like barely padded plot, this one actually made sense. There was a reasonable depth to the story and it didn't jump around too much with great leaps of faith. If the book was these crimes alone, I probably would thought a lot more of it.

But for me, again, the characters were the big let down. Don't get me wrong, they're nothing like the high school idiots they were in 8th, they're much more themselves again. But Lindsay comes across much weaker and vulnerable in this book, like her job is suddenly too much for her instead of being her driving force like always. There are several times where she feels 'faint' and one point even where her partner has to catch her around the waist to stop her fainting outright. I'm sorry, but what happened to the tough, feel-but-don't-show Lindsay Boxer from the first 7 books? She used to get outraged and angry at scenes, now she's fainting. And no, she's not pregnant or anything, that much is clear.

And while this may mean very little to plenty of readers, I just can not handle the Richie/Cindy relationship from 8th Confession. It is just completely wrong to me. A cheap idea to suddenly through the partner (and second love interest) with the best friend. Having never showed any sign of anything to each other before 8th Confession, indeed before then Richie was head over heals for the Sarge, they're totally in love and 'perfect' for each other. Someone hand me a bucket, I'm going to be sick. I'm not a big fan of Joe either, but I can handle him if I must. Yuki had a new love interest in this book as well, with no mention at all of the mess they left her love life in at the end of 8th Confession. Claire gets very little page time too. And when she does appear, she's always angry and furious about the case involving little kids and their moms. Fair enough, but there is more to her than anger, and that's all we got of her this time.

The plots may have been good, and their conclusions satisfying, but the end of this book left a real sour taste in my mouth. There is an epilogue to this book, which to my mind, has no point at all. It is something completely separate to the rest of the book but involves this massive 'drama' for about a page and a half, for no reason at all. Pointless plot that goes no where and does nothing. Done for the shock factor maybe? Well, if it was, it doesn't succeed. If doesn't do much of anything actually, save annoy me further and make me very sure that I'm done with this series.

One thing I found a little strange, but not exactly in a bad way, is how the criminals got far more page time than previous books. All the WMC books involve getting the odd chapter from the killers point of view, but with this book, I think they get at least 1/3 of the book from their prospective. Maybe more. And actually, those parts of the books ran quickly and smoothly for me, for the most part, I found them far more interesting and better written than the parts from Lindsay. I shall continue to love the early books in this series, but no more. This one may be a huge improvement over 8th, but I'm still done with it. Had enough of watching the characters I loved being twisted in to other people cause hey, why not. If you're looking for a easy crime read, this will probably do just fine. If you can/do ignore character development and only really care about the crime plots and are a fan of most of JP's work, you'll probably enjoy this just fine as well.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Apr 2010 15:32:58 BDT
This was a great series up until book 6 (which was the worst of them all I thought) - book 7 was good but then 8 was awful. Thanks for your review - I wasn't going to get this as the last few were so weak but a 3.5 star review isn't bad so I will give it a go and your other reviews of JP books share similar views and opinions to me.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2010 00:13:39 BDT
Claire Mill says:
I actually liked 6th, it was weak yes, but I still liked it. 4 really dragged for me, but it was still a decent story, but 8...what a joke. Hated it. This one really was a vast improvement, if I wasn't as character obsessed as I am (that applies to all books really, not just this series) I'd probably have thought it was even better.

Posted on 7 Apr 2010 11:56:59 BDT
Je Salter says:
I think James Patterson would benefit from concentrating on decent books with well constructed story lines and characters. His books are suffering because he's knocking them out like an author with OCD. The same is happening with the Alex Cross novels and he's in danger of losing a lot of loyal book worms!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2010 20:22:14 BDT
Claire Mill says:
Agreed! The first two Michael Bennett books were really good but the latest one has fallen foul of the amount of books he brings out so fast, and it looks like he's starting another series as well. I gotta ask WTH?! cause he can't keep up decent books with what he currently has. Such a shame.

Posted on 14 Apr 2010 14:05:24 BDT
James Patterson is more of a franchise than an actual author these days - I think he only physically writes the Alex Cross ones, the rest his co-authors write and he consults on then puts his name on them to sell more, so from now on I'm going by the co-author as to whether I like a "James Patterson" book or not.

I've tried the Andrew Gross and Peter De Jonge books and they are basically the same formula of short chapters and non-stop thrills as JP, they have just dropped the James Patterson name and done it alone.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2010 19:00:02 BDT
Claire Mill says:
Oh I know all that, but the fact is, he still puts his name to it, so it should still have the quality of his early works. If it's written completely by someone else, then it should only have their name on it. Fact is, with the Womens Murder Club, books 4-9 have all been written with the same author, so there should be continuity and the characters should still be the characters from the earlier books, but they aren't. Which is why I've had enough of the series.
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