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4th of July    by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro order for
4th of July
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Women's Murder Club was reduced to three members in 3rd Degree - San Francisco Police Department Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer, medical examiner Claire Washburn, and Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas. Jill's legal presence, as well as her friendship, is sorely missed this time, as Lindsay gets into very hot water.

It all begins with killings (by electrocution) of teens, with 'Nobody Cares' spray painted at the scenes. An off-duty Lindsay is called from drinking margaritas with Claire and Cindy by her ex-partner, Detective Warren Jacobi. A car chase is followed by shootings. Lindsay is sued for wrongful death, and a trial date set. The subsequent media frenzy, which dubs her 'Dirty Harriet', forces Lindsay to seek refuge at her sister Cat's home in Half Moon Bay. There, Joe Molinari, Deputy Director of the Department of Homeland Security, continues to drop in and out of her life.

Of course, this lovely spot is also plagued by multiple murders (what would Lindsay's life be without gory puzzles to solve?) Readers are let in on the doings of the 'Watcher', the 'Seeker', and the 'Truth', who target and take out local couples. Lindsay makes a new friend, Carolee, who runs a Child Welfare school, and she pushes herself into the local murder investigation, which seems to tie in to a cold case from her early career. An ex-porn star, 'a Teflon-coated sleezeball' with ties to the mob, arouses her suspicion, and soon Lindsay is herself in the killer's crosshairs.

Though the plot development in 4th of July is somewhet jerky, it takes off in an unexpected direction (a trademark of Patterson's), and also introduces a new member to the Women's Murder Club, to keep the foursome going. Fans of this entertaining series will welcome both this exciting episode and the new addition.

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