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The 6th Target    by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro order for
6th Target
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This sixth episode in the popular Women's Murder Club series begins with a bang - a seemingly random shooting spree on a docked San Francisco Bay ferry, that includes one of the foursome amongst its victims. Though the perp, Fred Brinkley - who has a history of mental illness following the accidental death of his younger sister - is soon behind bars, the justice system struggles to decide whether he's legally sane - and district attorney Yuki Castellano ends up prosecuting the frustrating case.

Lindsay Boxer deals with a change of job, her feelings about her current romance (the long distance relationship and irregular liaisons with Homeland Security Deputy Director Joe Molinari are getting her down) and about her handsome new partner, Rich Conklin, who makes clear he's interested in her. At the same time, she works all out on a set of inexplicable kidnappings - young geniuses are being snatched, along with their nannies. But why are there no ransom demands, and are these children already dead and buried?

In parallel with these two cases, the violence is escalating in a series of incidents in reporter Cindy Thomas's apartment building - first a dog was targeted but now someone - a very angry someone - is killing tenants. And the fourth member of the club, medical examiner Claire Washburn has more than one surprise for the others in this episode.

Patterson and Paetro deliver an engaging, accessible, fast-moving read, with several intriguing plot threads and regular suprises up to the very last page. I always enjoy spending time with The Women's Murder Club and look forward to the inevitable shockers ahead in their seventh outing together.

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