14th Deadly Sin (Women’s Murder Club #14) – Maxine Paetro and James Patterson

14th Deadly Sin James Patterson
14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
Also by this author: 1st to Die, 2nd Chance, 3rd Degree, The Horsewoman, 4th of July, The 5th Horseman, The 6th Target, 7th Heaven, The 8th Confession, The 9th Judgment, 10th Anniversary, 11th Hour, 12th of Never, Unlucky 13
Series: Women's Murder Club #14
on May 4, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
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Detective Lindsay Boxer and her three best friends are back and recovering from the events that pushed them all to the edge.
After her near-death experience, Yuki is seeing her life from a new perspective and is considering a change in her law career. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy has healed from her gunshot wound and has published a book on the infamous serial killers she helped to bring down. Lindsay is just happy that the gang are all still in one piece.
But a new terror is sweeping the streets of San Francisco. A gang dressed as cops are ransacking the city, and leaving a string of dead bodies in their wake. Lindsay is on the case to track them down and needs to discover whether these killers could actually be police officers. Maybe even cops she already knows...

It’s Claire Washburn’s birthday and there’s been another murder. As Lindsay and the rest of the cop crew head off to investigate, Claire remarks that this is the third birthday in a row where there’s been a murder. Coincidence or…of course it’s not and before they even hit the murder scene, Lindsay and her partner, Rich Conklin, have a major clue toward solving the mystery.

Yuki has returned from the honeymoon from hell (see Unlucky 13), happily married but ready for another major life change. After a shaky stint as an assistant district attorney, she gives up prosecution to goes to work for the Defense League. Her first case involves an intellectually disabled teenager who was bullied into confessing to murder, then died in prison. His parents are suing the SFPD for damages and hoping to get justice for their son.

And finally we have a compelling storyline. The Women’s Murder Club has always been a bit pro-cop. In past books, we’ve seen Lindsay lie and threaten perps—basically use the same tactics that the cops are accused of here. It’s all very much along the lines of Making a Murderer and you have to wonder if Patterson was aware Brendan Dassey’s story was being told. The series came out at the end of 2015 and 14th Deadly Sin came out at the beginning.

Of course, this pits Yuki against the San Francisco Police Department, which includes her husband and some of her best friends. Further, she’ll be going toe-to-toe with her old boss who intends to fight the charges all the way. I was waiting for Paetro and Patterson to pull their out of nowhere twist and be like “Aha, no he really did murder them!” but fortunately that is never the case. Unfortunately, despite this massive conflict, the duo never really turn it into much tension. Relationships remain unchanged. Yuki never asks her husband if he’s handled a suspect like these corrupt cops have. In the end, the theme is that the only difference between bad cops and good cops is that good cops catch the right bad guy.

Interestingly, the other main plot also involves corrupt cops, as a group of people dressed as cops in windbreakers run a series of smash and grab robberies that soon leads to a fatality. With cops being sued and people dressed like cops rampaging around the city, it is not a good time for the SFPD’s PR department.

Every time I think that Patterson and Paetro are just phoning it in and collecting the checks, they write something that actually shows promise. 14th Deadly Sin is exactly that. Yuki is in a much more interesting position than as a prosecutor. Cindy’s storyline continues to develop well. The authors haven’t decided exactly what to do with Lindsay’s husband and baby. 14th Deadly Sin isn’t great, but a lot of that is due to the shaky foundation that it’s built on. There are some major changes in this book that hopefully will take the series in a new direction and reinvigorate the storylines.