Even Stevens’s CBR-III review #32: 10th Anniversary by James Patterson

10th Anniversary is another entry in Patterson’s Lindsay Boxer series. These are really the only books of his that I follow anymore as he has pretty much become a book factory. I feel like most of the time reading his books is like reading a generic crime novel template and using the ad lib method to fill in characters and adjectives. The only thing that separates this series (and just barely) is that I still have a fondness for the characters and, though far-fetched, he’s still able to generate some suspense in his storylines. As this is the tenth entry in this series, any summary is bound to contain SPOILERS, though I will try to keep them to a minimum.

We open on Lindsay and Joe’s wedding day, and I do not exaggerate when I tell you there is barely a chapter devoted to this (which in Patterson’s world is 3-4 pages. Seriously). This was not a great way to start the book. Right after that, we jump right into the action and in this case, the action turns out to be three cases. One involves a possible kidnapped newborn, a mother of two on trial for shooting her husband in front of their children, and a mysterious serial rapist who drugs his victims and commits the act while the ladies are unconscious.

The crimes were pretty interesting, although I think including three was unnecessary. I’m sure he included this many storylines in order to give the other ladies of the Women’s Murder Club, their self-assigned name, something to do, but it was just a bit too much. The rape storyline in particular seemed extraneous. This was Cindy’s (the reporter) main story, and as she is dating Detective Rich Conklin (Lindsay’s partner) now, I feel there are much more natural ways she could have been worked into the storyline. Yuki (the prosecutor) is handling the murder trial and strikes up a relationship with Lindsay’s (possibly married) supervisor. Claire (the Medical Examiner and my personal favorite), who has the strongest relationship to Lindsay out of all the women, was all but forgotten, which is a shame.

I think that focusing on one or two crimes would have made it a little more cohesive (and seriously how hard is it to work a Medical Examiner into storylines about murder?). One other thing that bugged me, though I know it shouldn’t, is that a lot of what occurred with regard to the legal system were things that would just not happen. I know, I know, it’s not meant to be real life, but is it too much to hope for to have a novel that is escapist AND accurate? I think not. Oh, and give me more Claire! If you didn’t notice, I really missed Claire. Still, all said and done, this was an entertaining book and gave me my Women’s Murder Club fix.

This book (and really the series in general) is definitely light fare and not meant to stretch the brain muscles too far. In that respect, it accomplishes exactly what it’s meant to do. It’s interesting and suspenseful enough to keep the pages turning, and we get just enough character development to keep them from getting stale. I’m sure I will be tuning in for the next installment next summer.

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