This is the 3rd book in the James Patterson series “Women’s Murder Club”. Now, if your English, 3rd degree is related to education, temperature or burns. Murder wouldn’t cross our minds. Under our law it’s either Murder, Manslaughter or Not Guilty. Of course this book, being American and set in America, where degree’s of murder exist, and about a Murder Club does tend to suggest that it will be about Murder. Patterson uses this play on words to introduce the idea of murder by fire into his books, allowing for both meanings of the word to be used. I would like to add that while looking on the internet for picture ideas for the title 3rd degree, some rather disgusting pictures of 3rd degree burns appeared… If you are of faint of heart, don’t look them up! (I hope you appreciate the horrors I go through to write for you!)
I would like to add that quite a major spoiler and plot point occurs in the following review as I would find it hard not to put it in and if your read the next review on WMC then it would be spoileriffic anyway! So warning, if you would like to read the book with no idea of what is to happen then stop and read this after!
We start of with Lindsey and Jill out for a morning jog with their dogs. For WMC this is relatively serene. Two friends working out together and having a laugh. A more sinister cloud does appear though when Jill takes off her jumper to reveal bruising which Lindsey finds suspicious, even with Jill’s easy going attitude towards it. With Lindsey, her gut feeling is usually right! Into the 2nd chapter and after the run, Lindsey sees a town house explode and go up in flames. Always the policewoman, she calls 911 and then runs into the burning building! She saves a little baby from the fire and immediately begins the investigation into the explosion.
A few more houses are targeted and it turns out the inhabitants are all high profile. It becomes a terrorist plot and so the FBI are called in once more onto a Lindsey Boxer case. This brings about the introduction of Special Agent Joe Molinari – sounds a little like another book I’ve read…
Lindsey’s friends start to become targets due to Lindsey working the case and it comes to light that Jill is being abused by her husband.
Lindsey finds the terrorists and begins to date Joe, giving us an ending of sadness and bereavement as the four is tragically reduced to three. On a date with Joe, at her house, dinner becomes dessert and Lindsey ignores a phone call from Jill asking for her to go over to her house as she has just left her husband… or rather locked him out of the house, and then (SPOILER WARNING) Jill is found dead.
Now, I know that was a large spoiler to announce but this plot point is my main review. I found the main crime story line to be dull and uninteresting, being used as a tool for Joe to be brought into our lives and Jill to lose hers. These two side notes make this book for me. Without them then I would have scored this book quite low as it didn’t enthrall me like the last two. Joe’s entrance is very significant as he becomes quite a large character for the books. Jill’s death comes as a shock, especially as it is only the 3rd book. Usually this kind of drama occurs when a series is losing some momentum with audiences and wants to shock them back into the characters. I am invested in these girls and their pain becomes our pain. You want to read the next one to see how Lindsey deals with this death as compared to her last boyfriend, Chris Raleigh, especially when you can easily see how she will blame herself for the murder of Jill.
All in all, not the best read from Patterson but two very important character developments increase this review score to a 6.5/10.