17th Suspect is the 17th book by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro in The Women’s Murder Club series published in April 2018. James is one of my all-time favorite authors and I don’t think it’s ever going to change. Since secondary school, I’ve read some of the books in the series in no particular order. I had to make do with what I could find. It’s been so long that I can’t even remember the ones I’ve read and not read.
The only one I remember because it’s the most recent is 4th of July. You can imagine the pure joy I felt when I held 17th Suspect in my hands. A thoughtful lady actually picked it out for me to read from a library when she realized my love for books on my Facebook page. I still melt whenever I think of it.
The Women’s Murder Club meet again in the 17th Suspect to solve heartbreaking crimes in an action filled and fast paced story. The club is made up of four women with strong personalities who are riding at the top of their game in their different fields of criminal justice.
Yuki Castellano is San Francisco’s dogged Assistant District Attorney. Lindsay Boxer is a Sergeant with the San Francisco Police Department. Working with Homicide, she is well known for her success rates with solving different crimes that have plagued the city at different points in time. San Francisco’s chief medical examiner is Claire Washburn, a black woman who knows her onions and is a very reliable friend. Cindy Thomas, the lively crime blogger, is a top crime reporter at San Francisco Chronicle.
Lindsay is tipped off by a homeless woman about a series of murders of other homeless people on the streets of San Francisco. These murders fall within another homicide squad’s jurisdiction but their investigation is shabby probably because nobody seemed to care about the homeless lot.
As more murders emerge, Lindsay tries to up the ante of the investigation even though it didn’t fall within her jurisdiction. She encounters resistance, forcing her to question the integrity of the officers involved. Finally, one of the murders fall within her jurisdiction and she goes head on to put an end to it.
On the other hand, Yuki is the prosecutor for a sexual abuse case where the usual roles are reversed. This time, a man is allegedly raped by a woman who is his boss. Yuki is determined to get a conviction for the rapist even though the rest of the world, jury inclusive, would find it difficult to believe a woman can rape a man. She has very strong evidence and is ready against all odds to prove a point and give voice to all men who have been sexually abused. As the trial wears on, the case unfolds and shocks her to the bone. Things are not always what they seem.
I enjoyed reading 17th Suspect. The suspense was great. It is action packed, fast paced and easy to read. James Patterson is one of the best story tellers of our time. This is what I aspire to be, by the way.
On another note, I felt the homeless persons’ serial killer was caught too easily. It wasn’t all that easy anyway but I just wasn’t satisfied with how it happened. It felt rushed to me. Some story could have still gone on before it happened. Also, there was no closure regarding the motive of the killer. We get a faint idea of the motive from the different clips here and there of what the killer was thinking. I expected as the story developed that we would be given the full story but that didn’t happen. To say the least, I was a tad disappointed and it buttresses my earlier statement that the ending was rushed.
While reading, I felt my love for this group of four women reignited. Their friendship has stood the test of time as we read through the series. Supporting one another, they have grown to be formidable in their respective careers and have also learned to thrive in their personal lives. In times of trouble, they lean on each other and share good advice. I feel this series sets an example for women and the importance of women supporting each other. Many women see their fellow women as competition, forgetting very quickly that the growth of the female sex in a man-driven world can only happen by a collective effort.
17th Suspect reiterated two great lessons for me.
The characters of these women are well developed. We see the full picture of their lives from their homes, struggles with marriage, health and children to the highs and lows of their careers. Any reader can connect and relate to one aspect of their lives or the other. It is important in writing to create characters that are as real as they can get. It makes the reading experience beautiful.
Story telling is the ability to weave different series of events, fictional or not, into a single cohesive event that holds the reader at rapt attention. Writing enables you to put your story on paper and it takes time for a person’s writing skill to grow to perfection. So if your skill isn’t at its best form yet, strive to improve but don’t withhold your stories. Write in simple language with the interests of your prospective readers at heart. Reading a James Patterson book always reminds me of this lesson.
I recommend this book and every other one in the women murder club series. You don’t have to read it from the first to the last, if you can’t. There’s a level of independence in the stories even though some events surrounding the lives of the characters have continuity. So go get yours! See you at my next post.