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1ST TO DIE by James Patterson

1ST TO DIE

By James Patterson

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-316-66600-9
Publisher: Little, Brown

Four women band together to catch the forgettable fiend who's murdering newlyweds.

Even before she knows she's dealing with a serial killer, Inspector Lindsay Boxer is overcome with emotion at the beautiful young corpses of David and Melanie Brandt. Retreating to the ladies' room moments after tossing upstart reporter Cindy Thomas out of the crime scene, she runs into Cindy, who's sneaked inside to slip Lindsay her card and tell her to call her if she ever wants to talk about the case. There's no earthly reason for an experienced homicide cop to accept this invitation, so Lindsay naturally does, and soon after the killer scores a second double play, Lindsay's best friend Claire Washburn, San Francisco's chief medical examiner, and Jill Bernhardt, from the D.A.'s office, have joined the Women's Murder Club. The conceit here is that the quartet pool their skills to crack the case, but apart from sharing anecdotes about sex in public places and offering sympathetic shoulders to Lindsay, who's been diagnosed with life-threatening aplastic anemia, the others don't do much detection. Neither does Captain Chris Raleigh, Lindsay's new partner, whom Patterson (Roses Are Red, 2000, etc.) has evidently provided his heroine for another purpose entirely. In fact, the crucial break in the case comes from an utterly unexpected source: Cleveland, where a third pair of bride-and-groom victims points a finger at a popular author who swears that although he's lied about the crime, and although the evidence against him is out to here, he's being set up. Is he or isn't he?

Bargain-basement plotting, fewer thrills than a tax audit, and cardboard sleuths poised to return for a sequel. But the relentless velocity is guaranteed to hook fans of the bestselling Patterson, who'll presumably be hearing from the police the next time somebody declares war on young love.