Review by Booklist Review
Patterson, best known for his thrillers featuring Alex Cross, is banking on his legions of fans coming on board for this novel, the first in a new crime series. Don't be surprised if they come in droves. 1st to Die sets up the premise of the series--a group of four successful women coming together to solve murder cases--while offering a heinous killer and a fast-paced mystery. The story opens in San Francisco, with the gruesome murder of a bride and groom on their wedding night. Detective Lindsay Boxer is called to the scene, just after learning she is suffering from a rare and potentially life-threatening blood disease. For help with the case, she calls on her best friend, Claire, a medical examiner, and, reluctantly at first, Cindy, a newspaper reporter who is covering the story. Two more bride-and-groom killings lead them to the doorstep of Nicholas Jenks, a prominent writer who was having an affair with one of the murdered brides. Given Jenks' prestige, the assistant D.A., Jill Bernhardt, is reluctant to prosecute without substantial evidence. When Cindy gets a hold of a manuscript copy of Jenks' unpublished first novel, which details murders almost exactly like the bride-and-groom killings, the case starts to come together. Patterson keeps up the suspense until the very last page and will have readers looking forward to the second installment in the series. --Kristine Huntley
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
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.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
A new setting (San Francisco), new protagonists (members of the Women's Murder Club, who pursue a vicious killer), and a TV miniseries slated for May should boost Patterson's latest work. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Four women band together to catch the forgettable fiend who's murdering newlyweds. Even before she knows she's dealing with a serial killer, Inspector Lindsay Boxer is overcome with emotion at the beautiful young corpses of David and Melanie Brandt. Retreating to the ladies' room moments after tossing upstart reporter Cindy Thomas out of the crime scene, she runs into Cindy, who's sneaked inside to slip Lindsay her card and tell her to call her if she ever wants to talk about the case. There's no earthly reason for an experienced homicide cop to accept this invitation, so Lindsay naturally does, and soon after the killer scores a second double play, Lindsay's best friend Claire Washburn, San Francisco's chief medical examiner, and Jill Bernhardt, from the D.A.'s office, have joined the Women's Murder Club. The conceit here is that the quartet pool their skills to crack the case, but apart from sharing anecdotes about sex in public places and offering sympathetic shoulders to Lindsay, who's been diagnosed with life-threatening aplastic anemia, the others don't do much detection. Neither does Captain Chris Raleigh, Lindsay's new partner, whom Patterson (Roses Are Red, 2000, etc.) has evidently provided his heroine for another purpose entirely. In fact, the crucial break in the case comes from an utterly unexpected source: Cleveland, where a third pair of bride-and-groom victims points a finger at a popular author who swears that although he's lied about the crime, and although the evidence against him is out to here, he's being set up. Is he or isn't he? Bargain-basement plotting, fewer thrills than a tax audit, and cardboard sleuths poised to return for a sequel. But the relentless velocity is guaranteed to hook fans of the bestselling Patterson, who'll presumably be hearing from the police the next time somebody declares war on young love. Author tour
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.