Friday 2 July 2021

Book ~ "21st Birthday" (2021) James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

From Goodreads ~ When young wife and mother Tara Burke goes missing with her baby girl, all eyes are on her husband, Lucas. He paints her not as a missing person but a wayward wife - until a gruesome piece of evidence turns the investigation criminal. 

While Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas pursues the story and M.E. Claire Washburn harbors theories that run counter to the SFPD’s, ADA Yuki Castellano sizes Lucas up as a textbook domestic offender ... who suddenly puts forward an unexpected suspect. If what Lucas tells law enforcement has even a grain of truth, there isn't a woman in the state of California who's safe from the reach of an unspeakable threat. 

This is the 21st in the Women's Murder Club series (I've read them all). Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.  There are four members of the Women's Murder Club who have been friends for years ... police officer Lindsay, reporter Cindy, medical examiner Claire and prosecutor Yuki.  Unlike previous books, all the women have a part in the story rather than the focus being on one or two.

Kathleen goes to Cindy to ask her to investigate the disappearance of her daughter and granddaughter.  Cindy pulls Lindsay into it and Lindsay speaks with Lucas, Kathleen's son-in-law, and he's not concerned.  He and his wife had a fight and he figures she'll be back once she runs out of money.  Then bodies start turning up, including those of the missing woman and her daughter and Lucas is the prime suspect.  He swears he didn't kill anyone and points to a surprisingly different person, who points their finger right back at Lucas.

As in previous books, I wondered if the two authors had written different chapters and hadn't read each other's.  Or the editor(s) slacked off.  For example, Charlie Clapper, who has been in previous books, has been promoted to chief and he makes a big deal about how he's going to run things and becomes a bit of an A-hole.  Then chapters later it's like we are being updated about his promotion.  This happened a couple times with different characters.

I liked the short choppy chapters.  The point of view shifted ... it was first person perspective when the focus was on Lindsay and third person perspective when the focus was on others such as Cindy, Yuki and Claire.  As a head's up, there is swearing.  I still had many unanswered questions at the end so didn't have enough closure.

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