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7th Heaven    by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro order for
7th Heaven
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The genial members of the Women's Murder Club apply their assorted talents to mutual support and criminal investigation once more in 7th Heaven by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.

Taking the lead, as always, is Sergeant Lindsay Boxer. She continues to struggle with making a permanent commitment to Joe Molinari (now working in San Francisco, he's moved in with her) and with a strong attraction to her partner on the job, Rich Conklin (the feelings are mutual). Also on center stage is district attorney Yuki Castellano who takes on a high profile trial while she grows increasingly uneasy about a stalker in her life. Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas has a minor role this time as does medical examiner Claire Washburn (aside, that is, from giving birth).

It begins chillingly with the Christmas killing of a wealthy couple by young men who look like Ivy Leaguers. Pidge and Hawk play with their victims before burning them and their home, and leave clues in Latin. We continue to see the duo in action through the book. Lindsay and Rich soon catch this case as well as that of the missing Campion Kid - the only child of a former governor and his wife, Michael Campion lived on borrowed time with an inoperable heart defect - he 'was to Californians what JFK Jr. had been to the nation.' His disappearance was treated as a kidnapping, but months later no trace has been found.

Now a tip leads police to fragile young prostitute Junie Moon, who admits to Michael's dying in her arms, and claims that she and her boyfriend Ricky cut up the corpse and that Ricky subsequently disposed of it. Though no body parts are to be found at this late date, Junie is charged with murder and Yuki is lead prosecutor. In parallel with the progress of the trial - and Yuki's problems with true crime writer Jason Twilly who first courts her and then stalks her - Lindsay and Rich try to find Pidge and Hawk, whose victims include the parents of Rich's lovely ex-girlfriend Kelly.

The authors cleverly tie it all together, with the requisite peril and romantic angst for Women's Murder Club leads, along with Patterson's trademark twisty ending (this one caught me off guard). Though its subject is in no way celestial, Patterson fans will be in seventh heaven reading 7th Heaven.

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