Four women--four friends--share a determination to stop a killer who has been stalking newlyweds in San Francisco. Each one holds a piece of the puzzle: Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector in the San Francisco Police Department, Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Jill Bernhardt is an assistant D.A., and Cindy Thomas just started working the crime desk of the San Francisco Chronicle. But the usual procedures aren't bringing them any closer to stopping the killings. So these women form a Women's Murder Club to collaborate outside the box and pursue the case by sidestepping their bosses and giving each other a hand. The four women develop intense bonds as they pursue a killer whose crimes have stunned an entire city. Working together, they track down the most terrifying and unexpected killer they have ever encountered--before a shocking conclusion in which everything they knew turns out to be devastatingly wrong. Full of the breathtaking drama and unforgettable emotions for which James Patterson is famous, 1st to Die is the start of a blazingly fast-paced and sensationally entertaining series of crime thrillers.
The Women's Murder Club pits four San Francisco women professionals against a serial killer who's stalking and murdering newlyweds in bestselling author James Patterson's newest thriller. Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector who's just gotten some very bad news. She deals with it by immersing herself in her newest case and soliciting the personal as well as professional support of her closest friend, who happens to be the city's medical examiner. The two women, along with an ambitious and sympathetic reporter and an assistant DA, form an unlikely alliance, pooling their information and bypassing the chain of command in an engaging, suspenseful story whose gruesome setup is vintage Patterson.
"What is the worst thing anyone has ever done?" the killer muses to himself early in the narrative. "Am I capable of doing it? Do I have what it takes?" Answering his own question, he embarks on a murderous spree that takes him from the bridal suite in a Nob Hill hotel to a honeymoon destination in the Napa Valley and thence to a wedding reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Dispatching his victims on the happiest day of their lives, he purposefully leaves enough clues for his distaff trackers to discover his identity and put him behind bars. But just when the women think they've got the case all wrapped up, the killer turns the tables on them in a bloody denouement that even the most discerning reader won't see coming. Patterson, author of the popular Alex Cross mysteries, promises future adventures for the Women's Murder Club, which may give him an opportunity to develop his heroines' characters more completely and win new fans among those who prefer their detectives in high heels and lipstick. --Jane Adams