The 5th Horseman (Women’s Murder Club #5) – Maxine Paetro and James Patterson

5th Horseman James Patterson
The 5th Horseman by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
Also by this author: 1st to Die, 2nd Chance, 3rd Degree, The Horsewoman, 4th of July, The 6th Target, 7th Heaven, The 8th Confession, The 9th Judgment, 10th Anniversary, 11th Hour, 12th of Never, Unlucky 13, 14th Deadly Sin
Series: Women's Murder Club #5
on February 27, 2006
Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
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It is a wild race against time as Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer and the newest member of the Women's Murder Club, attorney Yuki Castellano, lead an investigation into a string of mysterious patient deaths--and reveal a hospital administration determined to shield its reputation at all costs. And while the hospital wages an explosive court battle that grips the entire nation, the Women's Murder Club hunts for a merciless killer among its esteemed medical staff. The newest addition to the top selling new mystery series takes the Women's Murder Club to the most terrifying heights of suspense they have yet to encounter. THE 5TH HORSEMAN proves once again that James Patterson is "the page-turningest author in the game right now " (San Francisco Chronicle).

This is what I wanted out of this series. Maxine Paetro’s second Women’s Murder Club novel—the fifth overall—showcases the potential this series has always had but never lived up to. The 5th Horseman sees Lindsay and the gang dealing with two separate serial murderers in a story that’s closer to them than anything they’ve experienced to date.

In the primary storyline, San Francisco Municipal Hospital is being sued for gross negligence after a spate of unexpected patient deaths. The hospital insists that none of the deaths are their fault. Mistakes happen. Sick people die unexpectedly. There’s nothing connecting the patients and they’ve all died for various reasons. The case becomes weird when Lindsay learns that the hospital is covering up something odd—each patient was found with buttons over their eyes. And the case becomes personal when one of the victims is Yuki Castellano’s mom.

From courtroom drama to medical mystery to police investigation, The 5th Horseman plays this storyline to the fullest. There’s a sketchy doctor linked to many of the deaths—one who pleads the fifth when asked if he’s responsible for the deaths. There’s a twist ending for which the appropriate breadcrumbs are laid and I’m mad I didn’t see it coming. It’s a layered and multi-faceted story that has more personality and depth than we’ve seen in the previous books.

The secondary storyline is about a group of serial murderers who are murdering young women and leaving them posed in expensive cars and wearing expensive clothes. This storyline underwhelms and just seems to have been there to pad the page count and fill the two-plotline convention that the series seems to take. Patterson and Paetro would have been better off nixing this plot altogether and just focused on making the main thing the main thing. It doesn’t really add to anything and doesn’t stand out.

The 5th Horseman is Maxine Paetro finding her stride. If this is what the rest of the series is like, it’s going to be a wild ride. This is my favorite of the series so far, by far—and the first I’m willing to call a good novel. It utilizes its characters well, develops them beyond their usefulness to the group, and creates a plotline around a very real fear.