Book Review: 11th Hour by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

This is the third of Patterson’s novels I’ve picked up and I grabbed it knowing that I had a few night shifts coming up at work, because Patterson and his co-writers make the perfect book for night shifts, straight ahead thrillers which keep you locked into the story and are engaging. Case in point, I blazed through this one in a single shift. Coffee and books, that’s all I need to keep me going.

patterson eleventh

This is the eleventh instalment in Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series of novels, which deals with a group of female friends in San Francisco who all work in areas that bring them into contact with murder (cop, DA, medical examiner, reporter) and then work together to find justice.

Detective Lindsay Boxer has a lot on her plate. Someone is gunning down drug dealers, and it looks like it might be a rogue copper as the murder weapon went missing from the evidence locker. As if this wasn’t enough two severed heads turn up at the home of a Hollywood star previously suspected of killing his wife who went missing. With two big, difficult cases on her plate, and pregnant to boot, Boxer is grateful to have her friends to help out.

This is a pretty enjoyable thriller, and a definite page turner. It’s one of those easy reads where you find yourself ploughing through chapters in no time and reluctant to put it down. Boxer is a likeable, no nonsense detective, but the writers do enough to add just enough vulnerability to stop her being a cliche. The novel is told largely from her perspective, although there are other sections from a third person perspective dealing with different characters, and this change in focus is a bit jarring.

The Women’s Murder Club is a nice idea, but it feels like a needless addition as Boxer is the centre of the story and the other members don’t really do much. I’m not sure if elsewhere in the series the others take centre stage, but on this evidence it feels as though Boxer could function as a solo investigator.

The two cases are interesting enough and Patterson and Paetro do a wonderful job of dropping in red herrings and subplots. There’s a scummy reporter complicating things, and friction between Boxer’s partner and his girlfriend. There’s also some domestic stuff with Boxer which is the book’s weakest part, as it all happens a bit too quickly and cleanly, and doesn’t add much other than a distraction from the cases.

Similarly both cases resolve themselves in slightly unsatisfying ways, although there is a dramatic showdown which is done rather well.

An entertaining read, if a bit formulaic in places.

Verdict: 7/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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