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The 8th Confession    by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro order for
8th Confession
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The 8th Confession, written by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, follows 7th Heaven in the wildly popular Women's Murder Club series. It begins with a bang, a school bus explosion that makes the city streets of San Francisco look 'like Baghdad after a suicide bomb.' Turns out the bus was a mobile meth lab.

Next the spotlight shines on Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas who comes upon a corpse in her neighborhood, that of a homeless man (called Bagman Jesus for his habit of helping others), surrounded and mourned by other street people. Cindy, 'a pit bull in disguise', turns it into a big story and presses Lindsay to give the shooting priority (a view that's not shared by her superiors). Then Cindy finds out what Bagman Jesus really did.

As she competently solves crime, Sergeant Lindsay Boxer continues to struggle with a permanent commitment to Joe Molinari (who's moved in with her but is unhappy about her unwillingness to take the final step and accept his ring) and with her strong attraction to Rich Conklin, her partner on the job. When Rich and Cindy become close, strong jealousy confuses Lindsay even more.

In parallel with all this, district attorney Yuki Castellano (who's been on a losing streak with recent cases) is determined to win a guilty verdict against a former pageant queen being tried for her parents' murder. After being hit by a car, Yuki falls hard for the emergency room doctor, John Chesney, who treats her - and then she finds out his secret.

But the main thriller thread follows a serial killer, Pet Girl, who takes out the super-rich, leaving no trace. Lindsay and Rich are assigned to what turns into one of the most bizarre cases of their careers. Even Medical Examiner (and new mother) Claire Washburn is stumped, giving out what she calls Chinese death certificates - Pen Ding. Telling more would spoil your fun so I won't. Suffice it to say that The 8th Confession is one of the better episodes in this consistently entertaining series.

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