Review

The 8th Confession

by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

My own very unscientific research (which consists primarily of
asking everyone from soul mates to total strangers, “So what
do you like to read?”) demonstrates that the
Women’s Murder Club books by James Patterson and
Maxine Paetro 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.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 22, 2010

The 8th Confession
by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

  • Publication Date: February 23, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446561339
  • ISBN-13: 9780446561334