As I have said before, this blog will be about books, or TV shows that star Angie Harmon. As we can see, Rizzoli and Isles does both of these, and so does this book. 1st to Die is the first in the Women’s Murder Club series. Angie Harmon starred as the lead detective in the TV show, the Women’s Murder Club (see Jaivomis post about Rizzoli and Isles for more information on that TV show!) The books are great. Each character is close to your heart (so be aware of the 3rd book!) and bring their own unique areas of specialities.
Lindsey Boxer: 1st female Homicide Detective for San Francisco PD
Claire Washburn: Medical Examiner
Cindy Thomas: Crime Reporter
Jill Bernhardt: Assistant DA
We open with an emotional Lindsey. It starts in the 1st person and something bad has clearly happened as she is contemplating suicide. It’s a good introduction to the main character as we see how emotional and caring she is. We also find out about the WMC and find the name given to the series of murders we will follow in the book (The Honeymoon Murders).
The murders in this book are horrific. Women are defiled in the worst possible ways. And to make it worse, it happens on their honeymoons, the happiest few weeks of their lives end in rape, torture and murder.
Due to the severity of the murders, the FBI are called in and we once again have a PD and FBI tug of war. However, it does help when Lindsey Boxer falls for the FBI Agent (sound like Rizzoli and Isles? I think so!) Chris Raleigh.
The introduction of Cindy has probably got to be one of my favourite introductions for a character EVER. She is tenacious, cheeky and most of all, loveable with her thirst for the knowledge the police aren’t giving her. Her smarts are shown as she is the only press person able to enter the first murder scene undetected and go into the room of the murder and then make friends with the lead detective, enabling her to get the lead story on the case.
Claire Washburn is the girl next door’s mum. She is Lindsey’s best friend and we see that she is the smartest Medical Examiner this side of Dr. Maura Isles and Dr. Temperance Brennan. The only reason for no Chief Medical Examiner status is due to the male hierarchy of the PD department.
Jill Bernhardt is the last main character to be added to the crew and the least well known. She is an Assistant DA, again not the DA due to the male hierarchy of law enforcement. She becomes an asset as she can help try and push through warrants, though her and Lindsey do argue over the legality of some police action.
Thus the Women’s Murder Club was born to help try and solve the horrendous murders shocking the city of San Francisco. The killer is pieced together by the four and Lindsey heads off to arrest the culprit. Of course, the take down doesn’t go smoothly and allows us to see what pushes Lindsey to the situation we found her in the Prologue.
This is an amazing first book. In fact, I struggle to find much wrong with it. The characters are witty and engaging, and the chemistry between the four leaps out of the pages. The bounds in the investigation to eventually finding the killer are believable and the love story that develops tugs at the heart strings. The writing is descriptive, informative and vivid enough without overblowing your mind with the grave seriousness of the crimes and making this book as depressing as it could be. Lighter moments break up the dark (usually involving Cindy) and the end is heart breaking but just enough that you do want to read on and pick up the 2nd novel. In fact my only major flaw is that it is so good that it almost sets the other books to fail in comparison as it seems unimaginable for them to surpass this one (though one does for me :P). Due to this fact alone (and this isn’t really fair as I am not being unbiased but meh) I shall give this a very solid 8/10.
Definitely worth a read either as the first in the series or as a standalone (though I defy anyone to not want to read the next one to find out what happens to the characters).