7th Heaven

January 4, 2009

Title:  7th Heaven
Author:  James Patteson and Maxine Paetro
Reader:  Carolyn McCormick
Audiobook:  2008
Length:  8 hours

3 Stars
Available at:  The Audio Book Store

There is some good news here. 7th Heaven is a definite improvement over books 5 and 6 in The Women’s Murder Club series. For fans of Detective Lindsay Boxer and the other members of that make of the club, you will find a better constructed story with fewer silly diversions and far less cringe-inducing dialog.

The beginning is a detailed and rather disturbing description of a brutal robbery that ends in fire and death. This type of crime has become the trademark for this series. This is a very graphic opening to the book that gets your attention. As usual there is more than one plot; apparently the authors have little faith that they can sustain one story over what is a rather short book filled with over 120 chapters (I have commented on this previously).

Michael Campion, the son of a former California governor has gone missing. No one seems to know anything about his disappearance until the police receive a tip that Michael was last seen entering a prostitute’s house. Boxer and her partner, Rich Conklin, get a too-easy confession from hooker Junie Moon that Michael, who had a heart defect, died during sex and she and her boyfriend disposed of his body. This leads to a trial featuring assistant district attorney Yuki Castellano. Here the story runs slightly aground with too much courtroom dialog that doesn’t really further the story. Carolyn McCormick reads with assurance although she seems to over do it a bit here, making Yuki much too “chirpy” for my taste. The rest of her performance is dead on getting both the female and male characters just right.

On top of these two plots, there is a small diversion when Yuki gets involved with a celebrity author who has decided to write about the Campion trial. Throughout I thought this pushed credibility, but there was a nice payoff to this subplot that saved the day.

Boxer and Conklin spend a great deal of effort to track now the serial arsonists who seem to have an agenda that only serial killers know and understand. The details of the arson investigation coupled with the police investigation or good and ultimately the killers do make a serious mistake that as in all good police procedurals, leads to their destruction in spectacular manor.

All this and a twist at the end that other reviewers seem to think was a big surprise, but I saw it coming from the very beginning. Yet this is much better than the recent past for this series. One can hope they have turned the corner and will continue to improve.

Reviewed on 01/04/09 by Robert W. Karp


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