Walk around the bookshelves in any supermarket and I can almost guarantee that you will see at least one title by the very prolific author James Patterson. He has written/co-written hundreds of books and has sold over 425 million books for adults, young adults and kids, which include collaborations with other authors such as J. D. Barker, Maxine Paetro, and Andrew Gross, former United States President Bill Clinton and even Dolly Parton. 1st to Die (published in 2001) is the first book in the thrilling Women’s Murder Club series (currently sitting at 23 books in the series).
1st to Die introduces readers to the Women’s Murder Club, it features four crime-solving female friends based in San Francisco, not a group of women who go out committing murder. Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector in the San Francisco Police Department, Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Jill Bernhard is an Assistant District Attorney and Cindy Thomas is a newspaper reporter. Lindsay and Claire are best friends and are soon joined by Jill and Cindy to create an exclusive club that discuss and try to solve active murder cases.
It all starts with the murder of David and Melanie, a newlywed couple just starting out on married life and their honeymoon, they had been married earlier that day. Then two more newlywed couples are killed in quick succession with their dead bodies posed in sexual positions to degrade and defile the happy couples. A sick and sadist serial killer is on the loose and the press have named him the Bride and Groom Killer.
The task of catching this sick serial killer falls to Inspector Lindsay Boxer, the only woman homicide inspector in San Francisco. She is sickened by this killers violent and sadist murders and is determined to catch him. She is tough and determined but during the investigation she is diagnosed with a very serious life-threatening blood disease and must cope with the news, the treatment and the effects of the illness whilst hunting a killer. She confides in her friend Claire, the San Francisco medical examiner.
With the killer leaving very little in the way of clues, except those that he deliberately wants to leave, the police aren’t getting very far. Whilst discussing the case informally with her friend Claire, they are soon joined by the very inquisitive and dogged reporter, Cindy, and the Women’s Murder Club is born. They are eventually joined by a fourth member in the form of Jill, an assistant District Attorney. With four very capable members at the top of the respective careers that put their considerable skills and resources to work to try and solve the murders.
Overall, 1st to Die is a very explosive introduction into the Women’s Murder Club series. It is a is fast-paced, tension-packed and suspenseful story, featuring Patterson’s trademark short chapters that keep the reader hooked.
The Bride and Groom Killer is a complex, twisted, and dangerous killer who is always one step ahead of the police. Despite being given the killer’s name at the start of the book you never really know who he actually is until a lot later in the book and it is a surprise, as you would expect in a crime thriller.
Whilst it is a crime thriller, it also explores the personal life of Lindsay Boxer who is battling a life-threatening disease, trying to balance her career, medical issues and personal life. The mixture of crime-solving and personal issues makes the characters seem more realistic and relatable.
It is a well-written story that has engaging strong characters and vivid descriptions. It has some very good twists and turns that lead to a very fast and unexpected, exciting finish. The short chapters make it a very fast book to read, but also a very enjoyable one.
A very good tale of murder and the hunt for a serial killer. A fast read that will leave you wanting to read more in the series (and there are 23 books, each with a different case to solve, in the series to date).
If you are a fan of James Patterson, you will love 1st to Die and the Women’s Murder Club.
RRP: £16.99 (Hardback) / £9.99 (Paperback) / £5.49 (Kindle)