7th Heaven by James Patterson

October 17, 2010

7th_Heaven Plot summary (with spoilers): Det. Lindsay Boxer of the San Francisco Police Department has two new cases on her hands in this novel. First up is a string of fires deliberately set in the homes of wealthy couples, starting with the wood venetian blinds in the living room and spreading throughout the entire structure. The couples are often left to burn in their houses, after being bound and tortured by the arsonists. The motive for these fires is unclear, as nothing seems to be stolen from the homes. The only real clues left at the scenes are various books inscribed with Latin mottoes.

The second case involves a small-time prostitute named Junie Moon who was implicated by an anonymous tipster in the disappearance of Michael Campion. Campion was the only son of a beloved former governor of California, and was afflicted with a rare heart disease that placed great limitations on his life. Michael grew up in the public eye, and was to California what JFK Jr. was to New York. His disappearance three months earlier rocked the entire state, especially since authorities hit dead ends everywhere they looked.

But when Lindsay and partner Rich Conklin interview Junie Moon after receiving the tip, they receive quite a surprise: she immediately confesses to having disposed of Michael’s body. No, she didn’t kill him. He died while having sex with her (apparently, his heart couldn’t take all that physical exertion), then she panicked and called her ex-boyfriend in to help cut up the body and get rid of it at a garbage dump.

While Junie goes to trial for the murder of Michael Campion (even without a shred of physical evidence), Lindsay and Rich continue searching for the arsonists. As the novel progresses, the detectives shed light on both cases, and eventually get the answers they’re looking for.

Liked:

  • At least there were only two separate crime plots to keep track of in this book, unlike the three plots from Book 6. These types of quick reads don’t need to be overloaded with unnecessary storylines.
  • The twist about Junie and Michael was a good one. I admit that I didn’t see it coming, and I appreciated being surprised by Patterson and Paetro for a change.
  • This was just a minor detail, but I’ve gotta say I loved the use of Latin here! Vivit lingua Latina!

Disliked:

  • The arson case was pretty unsatisfying all the way around. This was essentially carried out by bored college kids? Really? How lame.
  • Again with a lengthy trial in the middle of the novel. Those courtroom scenes are so boring and tiresome! These writers aren’t Grisham, ya know? I realize these scenes are probably meant to give Yuki something to do, but she’s a dull character as well. I could do without this stuff.
  • More relationship angst between Lindsay and Joe. What is her problem? I have no sympathy for her in this regard, and her almost-indiscretion with Rich cringe-worthy. Please do NOT go there!

Rating:
The Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro hasn’t been good since the first couple of installments. I’m not sure why I keep reading, but I guess I can’t blame the authors when the books fail to entertain me. I know what to expect by this point. 7th Heaven was about average for the series, so I give it 3 stars out of 5.

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