The 8th Confession is the eighth book in Patterson's Women's Murder Club series. This novel features our four main characters working more independently than most prior books have. Cindy, the reporter, manages to be walking outside of her apartment and stumble upon a fresh corpse of a homeless man revered by the homeless population and dubbed Bagman Jesus. She calls Lindsay, the detective, to the scene. Naturally, Lindsay and her partner don't have much time to work the case of a homeless man, even one shot repeatedly and likely not the victim of the usual homeless on homeless crime. Still, the two detectives vow to work on it in their spare time. Meanwhile, Yuki, assistant district attorney on a brutal losing streak, is awaiting the verdict of a high-profile case of a young woman who allegedly killed her parents for the insurance money. Also, the young, rich and fabulous in San Francisco are suddenly dying while our expert coronor can find no cause of death on their young, fit, healthy bodies, and the tox screens are clean. Soon, Lindsay's working the high-profile cases with little time for Bagman Jesus. Naturally, Cindy decides to solve his murder herself.
There's a lot going on, but not much really happens. The reader is introduced to the killer of the young and fabulous rather early on. I am not opposed to hearing some of the interior monologue of the killer, but knowing the killer's name and reasons for killing took away much of the suspense. Yuki barely got to interact with the other three, and her subplot was rather dull. I would have much rather seen her spend time in the courtroom and be a witness to the actual trial than picking up during jury deliberations. Yuki's other subplot was a blossoming romance that was incredibly awkward, odd and unncessessary, and I want to see her happy. The killer's weapon was interesting, but the early outing of the killer's identity killed the suspense that could have (and should have) accompanied the crimes.
I normally really enjoy the Women's Murder Club series. Some have certainly been better than others, but the stories are usually interesting. Patterson (or Pietro--I'm still not sure how much authoring each one does) is not a great writer. There is usually at least one time I groan out loud at the dialogue. The 8th Confession had a lot of great elements of a good mystery (unique method of killing, the reality of relative morality and importance when it comes to solving crimes against the rich and poor), but I found it to be awkward throughout. For such a short mystery, there were too many storylines, and far too much time spent on the romance lives of Cindy, Yuki and Lindsay. Women's Murder Club is at its best when the four heroines work together, combining their skills and jobs for the greater good. A few meetings for a quick conversation do not drive this series. Yuki needs something to do. She needs some good luck to come her way. Please, Jame and Maxine, stop using italics every other line to emphasize a word. It's sloppy writing, and it makes me think a teenager wrote it. Learn to emphasize like writers.
I'll still read the next Women's Murder Club, but they are on probation after this debacle. The series is still work checking out, if you haven't read it. Start from the beginning (1st to Die), and enjoy.
In a semi-related note, how lame is the cover? I know Patterson's books sell no matter what is inside, or apparently on the cover, but a little effort would be nice, graphic arts department.
Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)