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Book Review of The 8th Confession (Womens Murder Club, Bk. 8)

The 8th Confession (Womens Murder Club, Bk. 8)
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James Patterson demonstrates why the Women's Murder Club books is wildly popular. Each of the novels in this entertaining series contains a number of appealing elements.

The first is a primary cast of four likable, professional women whose careers intersect occasionally with a stretch. Then you have the setting. The stories take place mainly in San Francisco, a city of such distinctiveness that it becomes a character unto itself, as opposed to a mere though beautiful backdrop. Add some very well-written erotica that steams up the pages without hijacking the book, a narrative that flows right off the page and into your mind at breakneck speed, and...what's not to love?

Of course, I have failed to mention one last element. Any series known as The Women's Murder Club had better have at least one good murder-based mystery at its heart; Patterson and Paetro haven't let their readers down. THE 8th CONFESSION has two puzzling cases to keep Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends busy from beginning to end. The homicides could not be more dissimilar. One involves the slaying of a street character known only by his nickname of Bagman Jesus, whose mutilated body is found on the street. Bagman's demise is a true example of overkill, given that he has so many wounds that his death could be from any one of several factors. >From accounts, it appears that Bagman actually did some good on the street. Who then would want him dead, and why? Newspaper reporter Cindy Thomas does not want to let his murder rest, and she pressures the police establishment --- and Boxer --- not to let the case fall through the cracks.

Meanwhile, Boxer is getting pressured from above the chain of command to solve a series of murders that is taking out San Francisco's rich and famous beautiful people. How these killings are being done is a mystery, especially to Dr. Claire Washburn, San Francisco's chief medical examiner. And if Boxer ever makes an arrest in either case, she'll be passing the defendants off to Yuki Castellano, the San Francisco D.A. whose losing streak in the courtroom and in the bedroom needs to be broken, and soon. Speaking of which, Boxer's problems aren't limited to the detective bureau. Things are fine between her and her significant other; the problem is that he keeps popping the question, and she won't drop an answer. At the same time, the mutual attraction between Boxer and Rich Conklin, her detective bureau partner, is undeniable. How then is she going to react when Conklin and her friend Cindy begin forming their own society of mutual admiration?

As may be obvious, there is enough going on in THE 8th CONFESSION to keep you up all night reading or to while away a day or three at the beach this summer. On the other hand, if you have yet to pick a summer destination, this book, as with its predecessors, functions as a bit of a mini Zagat Guide for San Francisco, with various combinations of characters visiting a number of its finer and funkier dining establishments that lay off the beaten (and tourist) path. The idea of visiting some of the crime scenes that are peppered throughout the novel has its own appeal as well.

And if you need further prompting to read THE 8th CONFESSION, it seems to be a homage, intentional or otherwise, to one of the more popular stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as one of the most favored novels by Dame Agatha Christie. It doesn't get much better than this.