Tag Archives: Women’s Murder Club

The Sinner – Tess Gerritsen

I have recently browsed over my old posts and noticed something amiss. I have only 7 posts in the crime category. This was surely not right so I double checked. But no, only 7 posts. Yet I have read more than that in my lifetime so today I shall be rectifying this problem, starting with the re-reading of Rizzoli and Isles series. For those of you who have seen the rise of this blog from its humble beginnings (and still humble present) may have noticed that I declared this blog to be more of a crime book review site. Obviously, in the past two years this has not been the case so I shall crack on with the 3rd in Gerritsen’s series, The Sinner.

Plot

We start of with a man. A man in a taxi. Not much else is known except for the fact that he is making the taxi go onto a dirt track. The taxi driver seems reluctant to carry on and tells the man that he is now walking to his destination. A seemingly natural thing for a taxi man to do who is trying to save the underside of his car. However, this destination seems to have brought on terror for the taxi man and as our man leaves to head off into the wilderness, we can only hope for the best. As it is, this hope is truly shattered when we see him taking pictures of an area that has seen devastation.

Enter into present day and we find Dr. Maura Isles working on a post-mortem of a man who seemingly died from a heart attack. During this, Detective Jane Rizzoli calls, meaning one thing; a body has been found. Isles journeys to a convent where we find a nun has been murdered and another is in need of quick medical care.

We later discover that the dead nun had given birth to a still born and that the other nun is currently fighting for her life. It seems to be apparent who the intended target was, the father of this still born being the obvious murderer. However, we discover that the nun in the hospital had been previously working overseas in a leprosy village and it had been massacred.

Isles is called to another murder, seemingly not connected and finds a lady whose hands, feet and face had been taken away. A horrific murder. The type of bullet used on the ‘Rat Lady’ results in the FBI getting involved and once again Agent Dean is back in Boston, with a now pregnant Rizzoli.

Isles’ ex-husband, Victor, arrives back into her life and she ends up falling back into her adulterous husbands arms. However, she seems to have an attraction to the unattainable priest who is involved in the convent case.

Rizzoli and Isles piece together this mystery and we end up with Isles fighting for her life.

Opinion

I love these books. I have to really separate them from the TV series but little things connect them. It is amazing how many names and characters are used throughout both types of entertainment. My bias aside, this is a great book. The title is excellently chosen as nearly everyone is this book can be accused of Sinning amongst its pages.

The plot is fantastically woven and no question left unanswered. Rizzoli and Isles are fantastic characters who seem to be developing into friends as well as work colleagues, hopefully leaving it open to some great, off the case banter (or am I just hoping for the TV banter?).

Having said that, I do find the whole storyline of a policewoman and FBI Agent romance to be a little old school. Hopefully Gerritsen brings back the priest because that would cause an excellent upset for Isles. I also think it strange that a priest be brought into this series when there is a priest in 2nd Chance too. I know that I could be reading too much into them but as Angie Harmon has acted as both the lead detectives in both TV series’ I almost put these books together.

My verdict 8.5/10: All in all a great read and I cannot wait to read the next one!

Lindsey Boxer                            Jane Rizzoli

 

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3rd Degree – James Patterson

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!

Plot

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…

3rd Degree James Patterson.jpg

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.

Opinion

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.

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The Templar’s Quest – C.M. Palov

For those of you that have read any previous posts on books will know that I seem to be relatively kind in my grading. I have never given below a 6 and even that was due to needing room to improve my score for the following in the series. This dear readers, is because of one simple fact. Non of the books so far I have recently read. Yes I have read them within the past year, and yes I did remember them quite well. However, the cause for my good memory was the fact that the books were good. I couldn’t put them down. They intoxicated me. The need to read the next one and then the next one for books such as Harry Potter, Eragon, Women’s Murder Club, Rizzoli and Isles and the Wolf Brother Saga, to name but a few, have seriously dented mine and my parents bank balances. Without the next installment, I seem at a loss and to read the books and finally have an ending in the last book gives you closure on characters and a sense of bereavement at the same time.

From the paragraph above you may think of me as a bit of a book slag. I am. Though not quite to the extent of my father, who has easily read double the amount I have, and probably by the time he was my age too. So when I come across a book that takes my fancy I find it hard not to buy it. Anything by P.J.Tracy, Cecelia Ahern and any books with a saga, I find extremely difficult to walk away from it. So when I spotted the Templar’s Quest on the shelves at Tesco for a discounted price I was torn. I had never heard of the author before but that didn’t mean it would be bad. Yes the author’s name was not bigger than the title of the book, meaning they weren’t that famous/popular an author. Though again, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be bad. I was pulled by the title, “Templar’s Quest”. As a history geek and a book geek, fictional books surrounding an historical event are my little poison. I loved Dan Brown’s “The Da Vini Code” (though did literally find it as a story, not a conspiracy theory around God, Jesus, faith) and Chris Kuzneski’s “The Lost Throne” equally enthralled me. So that was it. I bought it. And my dear readers, unlike my previous book reviews, I shall be reviewing this book a mere 1 hour after I read it.

Just to let you know in advance, it isn’t as good as any of the books I mentioned before. It’s only redeemable quality was the fact it was readable. That’s a lie. I enjoyed  2 characters and was only readable because of these two characters. So two redeemable qualities. I shall warn you, I do reveal far more spoilers in this review than usual so if you do like this author/would like to read the book and don’t want the surprise to be ruined, I would advise to stop reading.

Plot

We start of in Nazi owned Europe, in 1940. We see the secret band of the SS, known as the Seven, enter into a tomb and discover an artefact that can change the course of History. The book quickly changes to modern-day and a different war zone. This time Syria. We meet our hero for the book, Master Sargent Finn McGuire. He is in an old building looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction, instead he finds a gold medallion with some funky design. Outraged that he has been sent under false pretenses, he swipes the medallion to try to oust the culprit of such a dastardly trick. In the process of leaving Syria, he gets his trigger finger blown away, ultimately finishing his soldier career.

We next find Finn working at the Pentagon a few months later, when he is interviewed by two CID agents (Criminal Investigations Department). They seem to be trying to find a reason to arrest him for the murders of two of his previous soldier buddies. During the mini interrogation, Finn receives an email from the French Embassy to evade the two CIDs and come to the French Embassy. As an Englishwoman, this just exemplifies what us English have known for 1000’s of years, you can’t trust the French! On his escape from the Pentagon to the Embassy he uses Kate Bauer as transport. Of course this means we now have our leading lady and suffice to say she is pulled into the lunacy of the plot.

Following the talk at the embassy and many suicides, car chases and arguments, we find ourselves in the French Capital, Gay Paree. On this quest, we find ourselves a new ally in the form of former MI5 operative and Kate’s ex Oxford beau, Caedmon Aisquith.

Again, after more fights, car chasing, theoretical physics later, Caedmon goes off to the south of France to find the ‘Holy Grail’ (where have we heard this one before?) and Fin and Kate consummate their budding romance.

We finally get to the ending fight, and discover that the bad guys are trying to open a space-time continuum to send a message to the original Seven of the Nazi SS to try to help Hitler win the 2nd World War.

Opinion

As you have surmised from above, I didn’t really enjoy this book. I found the language to be confusing and using mathematical and theoretical physics to  explain something as Sci-Fi as Star Trek just didn’t work. I got the general gist of the plot but the explanation was far-fetched. Kate was an anthropologist who just happened to have an astrophysicist as a father, once bedded a Egyptologist/Templar symbolism expert who worked for MI5 and now lives in Paris and happened to be the one person driving past the Pentagon at the time of Finn’s escape. I know books and films have always tested the realm of possibility and coincidence but this was too much. Plus Finn was meant to be the regular Joe character in terms of smarts, yet the mathematical connections and knowledge of Einstein’s physics theories doesn’t ring true when just randomly blurted out by him.

This book seems to be trying to be too Dan Brown like. Many books of this type are often Dan Brown rip offs (In deed the Da Vinci Code was arguably a rip off of other ‘Holy Grail’ conspiracy theory books), yet this seems to take 70% of its story line from Dan Brown. The Louvre, pyramids, Holy Grail, France, Egypt, Faith, Templars are all used and this is too similar. If Palov pulled this off better than Brown, I could forgive him but it is sub par. 

The characters weren’t the best either. Finn and Kate were my two favourite characters but it didn’t take much. Caedmon just annoyed me and I wasn’t really that bothered if he lived or died. His adventure on his own bored me, and although it was pivotal in the story it wasn’t in my interested range. The bad guys seemed to be all talk and Finn outmaneuvered them most of the time. Even his biggest rival was undone not by him but a gorilla of a brute who seemed to have the IQ of a chipmunk (I apologise to the Chipmunk!)

One of my biggest annoyances of this book though was when Caedmon had been shot in the arm, had a bullet graze along his head, had been manhandled to open the stitches, blood was pouring out of him, unable to draw on a blackboard, unable to sit unaided yet at the end he could outrun Kate, who had very little wrong with her in terms of physical damage. Ludicrous.

All in all, not a great read. Took the Far Fetched and invited it to a tea party with Ridiculous and Improbable. My verdict is 3/10. It wasn’t unreadable and Kate and Finn were ok characters but the story was just a poor man’s attempt at Dan Brown with a bit of Star Trek added for good measure.

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2nd Chance – James Patterson

I hope everyone had a brilliant Christmas! Hopefully Santa brought you all the gifts you were planning for and more!

Well for one of my last posts of 2012! (I was going to say last and then realised I had nothing else to do today so might bang a cheeky one out later!) A book review about James Patterson’s second novel in his Women’s Murder Club series, “2nd Chance”. This was a good book. In fact, most of WMC are good. As I said in the last post, the first book was so good that the rest of these books have to do a lot to stay on par. This does so 99% of the time. It has a teeny tiny 1% drop compared to it’s predecessor and as I gave that last one an 8, that isn’t too bad!

Plot

We open this book, not with any of the WMC girls but with a victim. A priest in fact. Who has just led his young choir out of practice. Next thing, we hear gun shots as what appears to be a drive by occurs. Girls screaming, Priests saving lives and flashbacks of clearly a war are had and then the gunshots stop. Miraculously no one was hurt (a very bad drive by it seems). Then. We get crying. We all know crying after a drive by never symbolises something good. And it isn’t good. I fact, it’s worse than isn’t good. It’s tragic. A girl of 11, never knowing her teenage years, is dead. Shot through the chest. To make it worse (if that’s possible) it’s her best friend of 12 who has seen her die. As soon as children are involved or die you know the main story line is going to be quite a somber one.

We find out next that Lindsey is still pining after her dead partner Chris Raleigh (being only a few weeks later) and that she is going to work to just do something. Jill is pregnant and Cindy becomes involved with a character we meet in this book. Claire also has a bit of a torrid time as she becomes the target of this seemingly drive by shooter.

People we have met in the previous book die and others become targets for this revenge seeking villain. It ends in quite a columbine fashion and perhaps was Patterson’s reflection on the situation in our own world, where students can kill fellow students in a school, making that much more real.

Of course, Lindsey saves the day and seems to have come over the hill that we saw in the first chapter of book 1 that nearly destroyed her. We get more insight into the lives of Cindy, Jill and Claire and the characters are cemented closer to our hearts with every chapter.

Opinion

This book is good. Were it not part of a series it would be extremely good. The characters develop, the plot thickens and then forms full circles and dialogue is witty and engaging. Unlike many serial books, the characters don’t just forget what happened to them in the previous books. Lindsey is quite obviously hurting from the previous one and this is shown to be how she copes with that and moves on, allowing us to accept any future developments with her. Jill’s pregnancy must touch many people’s hearts, being quite a common situation, and her distress and coping mechanisms is a common sight meaning empathy is not hard to find. Like I said previously, Claire is the girl/boy next doors mum and as such, anything happening to her gets your heart racing. Cindy, well is just Cindy. Her situation with the priest is again, one we can understand (more if you have read Rizzoli and Isles!!!) I give this book a 7.75/10. Not quite as good as the last but pretty darn near!

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1st to Die – James Patterson

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

Plot

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.

Opinion

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).

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Rizzoli & Isles – the show that restored my faith in TV

Hello. Well I promised some more book orientated posts would appear soon and to start off what will be my Rizzoli and Isles section, here is Jaivomis (from the blog ratherbemental.com) take on the TV show based on the books. Great books and great TV show. Many of the shows mentioned in this post were ACE but were cancelled! 😥 though if any take your fancy please check them out! 

“Some call me an optimist – or at least I like to think they do… But when it comes to TV, I’m unfortunately that grumpy old man who sits on the bus murmuring about you because you had the audacity to sit next to him. Alas, that may be soon to change.

So what made me this way? Well, I was an optimist, I really was. I grew up watching seven years of Buffy, eight years of Charmed. Never did the words, ‘Network’ or ‘Cancellation’ enter my little head. But then I got older. And I got wiser. And I got pissed. Why? Well because the greatest show I’d ever known, the show I related to on so many levels, the show like no other got cancelled. And that show was the masterpiece they call Veronica Mars.What is this, I hear you say… Well not many people watched it. But those that did loved it. It launched the career of the lovely Kristen Bell, and critics called it the sassiest and smartest show on TV. But here is were I got mad.Networks are businesses. Businesses are about making money. To make money, you need to make a huge hit that sells globally, or a pile of shit that costs no money to make. Which is exactly why we have the ‘Only way is Essex’ and the ‘Jersey Shores’ of the world. It costs about 10 grand an episode to have a man with a camera follow a bunch of bad acting chav’s around for the day. Whereas it costs hundreds of thousands an episode to hire good actors, good writers and basically good everything. And that was when I learned the important lesson of – money makes the world go round.It does – money and sex. That’s life. And so after Veronica Mars got cancelled, despite it being arguably the best written show on TV,  I lost faith in TV. I didn’t want to watch anything  new, especially anything the US was churning out, because I didn’t want to get so god damn disappointed again. But eventually, inevitably, I did. I picked up another show. I couldn’t resist once I realised it had my all time favourite Law and Order ADA, Angie Harmon as the the lead character. So I took the gamble. What happened? Well ever heard of Women’s Murder Club? The books? Yes. The series? No. Why? Because it was canned. And it was a nice little show. Funny, heart warming, exciting. But when the writers strike hit, the networks wanted to get rid of it, and fast. So they fired a few people. Hired a bunch of new people who basically could not give a shit, and then the last 3 episodes were made, and they were made badly, and that was that. All over.

By this point, I was worse then mad. I was upset. The renewal period of TV felt like waiting for exam results. Which is a ridiculous, but true, notion. But I decided that I owed it to myself to keep trying. I love TV. I’m a watcher – I always have been. Whether it be films or TV. So I kept going, and I stumbled upon Joss Whedon’s new creation known as Dollhouse. Original, innovative, well cast, exciting, thought provoking..! There was nothing this show didn’t have! And as soon as I saw the pilot, I was worried. Seems like a strange time to be worried, I know. But I knew that a show like this, that wasn’t mindless “You cheated on me!” or “Your through to the next round!” BULLSHIT, was going to go through some tough, tough times. Now I’m not trying to insult the whole of America. But the average Joe doesn’t watch shows like Dollhouse and Veronica Mars. They watch Deal or No Deal, American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars. I guess people work so hard through the week, they don’t wanna use their brains too much when they have time off. <——-That, right there, is not me. I wanna be challenged by a show. I wanna laugh at extremely well written dialect. And I want to cry because a character I cared about is hurt or dead, not because American Idol’s newest contestant once had a pet chameleon and it DIED. Honestly, who gives a shit? And so when the first season of Dollhouse ended, it struggled. As I knew it would. But like Veronica Mars did more than once, it held its ground and got renewed. Unfortunately, by the second season, the network felt it was just tooground breaking for america and it got cancelled. And once again, I was pissed/angry/annoyed/upset. 

Just in case your thinking I am pathetic right now, with no life and someone who lives in the box – I don’t. But when you invest time in something, that never gets a proper end, or watch something so well written that you care about these characters – it is heart wrenching when your loyalty to them is rewarded with no continuation. Its like networks are the worst storytellers ever to exist. One out of every hundred shows gets a proper ending, if were lucky. Where is the sense in that?

Don’t get me wrong, if something is bad – I am the first person to say cancel it. Because there is nothing worse then the good shows being blocked by the bad ones. But its when the quality shows go that I have a problem. And they do, incessantly.

So what’s my point? Well about a year ago, I once again stumbled upon a new show. Not again – I know. I myself was hesitant. So what got me watching? Well Angie Harmon, again. After the disappointing cancellation of Women’s Murder Club, I really wanted to see her do well. She’s a great actress, and a lovely person. And I just felt after how well she did in Law and Order, she needed a proper opportunity to prove herself once again.  Add on to that the lovely Sasha Alexander who was the hilarious Kate from NCIS – well it couldn’t really go wrong in my book. And well, Rizzoli & Isles was born. And I loved it. Every second of it. It was a crime show at its core yes, but it was funny, likeable, enthralling and well written. The two leads had more chemistry than a hydrogen bomb, and all the supporting cast were just as loveable. And so I waited. Would this one be successful? Would this survive the chop?

A year on, and it’s cables highest rated show. It’s being shown in several countries. It’s DVD is available for purchase. TNT are calling it there new main show after the Closer ends. And its just doing fantastically! Amazingly! Beyond expectations! Season 3 has already been given the go ahead. And it’s constantly trending on twitter. What more could I ask for?

Well there is this – Don’t mess it up TNT. It’s an amazing show. Please please stay true, and keep it on the air. Let it come to its natural end when its time. And not before. 

Not a big ask… is it?”

(Side note: clearly the “Rizzoli and Isles” series by Tess Gerritsen. Look out for my reviews of the books to come! Starting with the 1st book “The Surgeon” sometime in December! Read it.)

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