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1st To Die    by James Patterson order for
1st To Die
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

1st To Die switches between the point of view of a serial killer who targets newlyweds, and that of Homicide Inspector Lindsay Boxer of the San Francisco Police Department. Patterson does his usual excellent job of pairing a new and horrifying modus operandi for murder, with a twisting, turning plot that keeps the reader guessing till the end.

This time, the killer is after newlyweds at the peak of their happiness, just after the wedding and before its consummation. His first effort involves posing as a champagne waiter, who wheels in a nasty shock for the happy couple, along with the trolley. On the side of justice, the inspector has troubles of her own. Her doctor has just delivered the news that she has a potentially fatal disease. Treatment, by blood transfusions, is urgent and she juggles it along with the job.

When news of the shocking double homicide breaks, Lindsay is assigned a new partner, Mr. City Hall Hotshot as she dubs him. But an attraction quickly grows between them, despite Lindsay's concern about their partnership and the fact that she is withholding knowledge of her illness. As the investigation progresses and more deaths follow, Lindsay starts to bounce ideas off a growing circle of close women friends - a medical examiner, a crime reporter and an assistant D.A. - and the Women's Murder Club is born.

Patterson provides a plot that takes a reader easily along for the ride. There's not a great deal of depth to it, and certainly not to the characterization, but it's good entertainment. Apparently the author plans to write more adventures for the Women's Murder Club - it will be fun to see how this series develops.

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