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1st to die : a novel
James Patterson
Adult Fiction PATTERS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

As the former head of the J. Walter Thompson ad agency, Patterson knows how to write to sell--even if his novels are feeling increasingly like designer product. No Patterson title has felt more packaged than this clever kickoff to a new series, which will scorch bestseller lists just as his Alex Cross novels do (with the latest, Roses Are Red, now on PW's hardcover list). But as calculating as Patterson may be, he isn't afraid to reach as a writer. A white male, he here turns for his first-person voice from the African-American Cross, already a stretch, to a woman, Insp. Lindsay Boxer of the SFPD. The novel finds an anguished Boxer at home, holding her service revolver to her head. The bulk of the book consists of flashbacks depicting the investigation by Boxer and others of a series of heinous killings, and detailing the killings themselves. Patterson tells the story in his patented mix of first- and third-person narration. The murders are of newlyweds on their honeymoon night; after each slaying, the killer sexually molests the bride's corpse--there's a high sleaze factor here. We know the villain right away, though the cops don't; he's Phillip Campbell, later identified as the alternate identity of a bestselling novelist who in some ways is not too unlike Patterson himself. Aside from its breakneck pacing and loop-the-loop plotting, the novel's real grab is that soon Boxer joins forces with three other women to solve the case: a feisty reporter, a warmhearted medical examiner and an ambitious assistant DA. They style themselves the Women's Murder Club, and you can bet they're going to appear in more than one hot-selling sequel--assuming Boxer survives the life-threatening disease diagnosed in her during the course of this gleaming machine of a novel. Author tour; Time Warner Audio. (One-day laydown, Mar. 5)Forecast: This new series could rival the Alex Cross novels in popularity, particularly as it seems aimed primarily at the vast female readership of mystery/thrillers. Expect big numbers for this one, with its first printing of 850,000 copies, a preview chapter in the mass market editions of Along Came a Spider and Cradle & All, and, most importantly, a two-part NBC miniseries based on the novel to be aired in May 2001, at the same time the book will be cruising toward the top of the charts. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Fans of Patterson (Along Came a Spider) will not be disappointed with his latest effort. A killer is murdering recently married couples, and police detective Lindsay is stumped. Off duty, she forms a murder club comprising three of her friends: an assistant district attorney, a newspaper reporter, and a coroner. The four women use everything at their disposal to figure out who the killer is before he can strike again. Their lead suspect is a world-famous writer whose plots resemble the murders. Deploying Patterson's usual short chapters, the book is exciting to the last page. One hopes that it is the first installment in what deserves to be a new series; Patterson should give Alex Cross a rest and concentrate on these four women instead. 1st to Die will air as a miniseries on NBC in May, so expect demand. For all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/00.] Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Lindsay Boxer
Diagnosed with aplastic anemia; hunting for a serial killer who kills newlyweds.
Homicide detective

Claire Washburn
African American
Medical examiner

Cindy Thomas
Works for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Newspaper reporter

Jill Bernhardt

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