The 8th Confession (Women’s Murder Club #8) – Maxine Paetro and James Patterson

8th Confession James Patterson
The 8th Confession 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 9th Judgment, 10th Anniversary, 11th Hour, 12th of Never, Unlucky 13, 14th Deadly Sin
Series: Women's Murder Club #8
on April 27, 2009
Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
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As San Francisco's most glamorous millionaires mingle at the party of the year, someone is watching--waiting for a chance to take vengeance on Isa and Ethan Bailey, the city's most celebrated couple. Finally, the killer pinpoints the ideal moment, and it's the perfect murder. Not a trace of evidence is left behind in their glamorous home.

As Detective Lindsay Boxer investigates the high-profile murder, someone else is found brutally executed--a preacher with a message of hope for the homeless. His death nearly falls through the cracks, but when reporter Cindy Thomas hears about it, she knows the story could be huge. Probing deeper into the victim's history, she discovers he may not have been quite as saintly as everyone thought.

As the hunt for two criminals tests the limits of the Women's Murder Club, Lindsay sees sparks fly between Cindy and her partner, Detective Rich Conklin. The Women's Murder Club now faces its toughest challenge: will love destroy all that four friends have built? The exhilarating new chapter in the Women's Murder Club series, The 8th Confession serves up a double dose of speed-charged twists and shocking revelations as only James Patterson can. And remember, this is the only Murder Club episode of the year.

Eight novels into the Women’s Murder Club and five novels into Maxine Paetro’s co-authorship, the series has begun to develop into more than a series of disparate storylines. While every novel ends with the case solved and the bad guys locked up, Paetro and Patterson’s character development is now looking into the long-term instead of focused on only the novel at hand. That’s not always been a good thing, as it’s the personal storylines—all of them melodramatic romance—that have been the series’ weakness. The 8th Confession gives us a new series of crimes to solve, but the relational drama from 7th Heaven continues: Now living with her long-term boyfriend Joe, she still has feelings for her partner, Rich. Complicating all of this is that her BFF Cindy—part of the Women’s Murder Club—is falling for Rich as well.

Cindy, a reporter, finds it her turn to control the B-plot as she investigates and writes about the murder of a beloved homeless man named Bagman Jesus. Nobody is real sure of his actual name, but every person Cindy speaks to has something nice to say about him. Intent on making sure that he receives justice, Cindy writes a story that prompts public outrage and demands police response. This would have been a great storyline for Patterson and Paetro to have discussed the very relevant social issue of homelessness—particularly endemic in San Francisco—and the background of why people experience homelessness. But who am I kidding? In The 8th Confession, all homeless are crack-addicted criminals—including our Bagman Jesus, who turns out to be a sex trafficking drug lord.

Meanwhile, Lindsay and Rich are investigating a series of odd deaths among San Fran’s elite (which sounds just like the plot of the last novel, but hey…). This time, though, instead of trial by fire the cause of death is unknown. Even brilliant medical examiner Claire Washburn can’t determine what happened. A number of leads are chased down to no avail and the eventual answer is a little more than out there. Entertaining? Yes. Realistic? No. All in all, a solid story on par with what I’ve come to expect in this series. Again, the most interesting scenes come from the perspective of the killer.

As an aside, The 8th Confession very briefly takes readers down a side plot in Yuki’s love life. There’s more than enough romantic drama going around that we don’t really need anymore, but just you wait. Yuki is wanting to deepen her relationship with her guy (that means have sex) but he’s been resistant. Everything about this guy is presented as perfect. He’s good-looking, wealthy, a doctor and Yuki is heels-over-head. But then, the big secret comes out: Yuki’s boyfriend is intersex. Stunned by the revelation, Yuki cancels a vacation with him and…and that’s all. We hear of no more. Patterson and Paetro had an opportunity to build an interesting and compelling relationship. Instead, they exploit someone’s sexuality as a shocking plot twist. It’s an unfortunate and unnecessary part of what is otherwise a solid Women’s Murder Club book.