8th Confession by James Patterson

October 21, 2010

8th confession Plot summary (with spoilers): Downtown San Francisco is literally rocked one morning as a school bus explodes in the middle of a busy street. Detective Lindsay Boxer is close enough to feel the concussion, so she and partner Rich Conklin head on over to the site of the commotion. There are at least 10 dead, with innocent bystanders included in that number, but fortunately no children. It turns out that the bus was actually a mobile meth lab (think: Breaking Bad), which explained the explosion, so there wasn’t much to investigate there except for who owned the contraption.

At roughly the same time, reporter Cindy Thomas is looking into the brutal murder of a homeless man known only as “Bagman Jesus”. Bagman Jesus was found with his head completely caved in, both from multiple gunshots and other kicks or blows, leaving him unidentifiable except for a couple of tattoos on his chest. Cindy thinks Bagman Jesus actually helped other street people and figures she could use his murder to highlight the problem of police indifference to crimes against the homeless. She tries to get Lindsay and Richie involved too, but Lieutenant Jacobi says they have too many other unsolved murders to investigate.

Moreover, it’s not long before Lindsay and Rich get called out to a new case. This time, very wealthy people are turning up dead in their beds — with no apparent cause. Tox screens come up empty, there is no visible trauma, no accidental overdose of natural fat burners, and the victims seemed to be in good health at the time of their deaths. Then someone makes a connection to a series of similar murders in the early 1980’s that turned out to be the result of poisonous snakebites. This gives Rich and Lindsay the all-important lead they need in order to track down the killer.

As the book approaches the end, all three storylines get resolved. The true identity of Bagman Jesus is established, and it’s shown that he wasn’t the saint Cindy assumed him to be. Rich and Lindsay find Pet Girl and get her to confess. And Yuki, who makes a few cursory appearances, has her blossoming romance with a doctor come to a sudden, puzzling halt.

Liked:

  • The main Pet Girl thread was fairly interesting. I wish these books would focus on a single crime instead of branching out every which way. That would allow the authors to develop the crime more completely rather than just giving us the barest outlines of a good story.
  • Thank god Lindsay finally made a decision about Joe. I was wondering if that silly subplot would drag on forever, so it was nice to have it wrapped up.

Disliked:

  • The whole “romance” with Yuki and the doctor was weird and completely unnecessary. Why did the authors feel the need to make this “guy” have ambiguous genitalia? WTF is that all about??? I mean, that was seriously out of left field. Wow.
  • Sex scenes are clearly not Patterson or Paetro’s strong suit, so I wish they would just leave them out or gloss over them. The stuff between Richie and Cindy was so amateurish that I felt like I was reading stuff off a high school kid’s Facebook page.
  • The authors have not made the sexual tension between Rich and Lindsay the least bit believable — probably because the only way they “developed” this particular subplot was to tell readers that the partners spend so much time together, therefore they must be attracted to each other. Yeah, not buying it. Please SHOW us how Rich and Lindsay became attracted to each other so we can become invested in them — or not.

Rating:

I had 8th Confession by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro on my iPod because I checked it out from my library for free and felt compelled to listen to it. But after yet another mediocre entry in this series and yet another case where the women don’t work together to solve the crime (what is the point of having Yuki there, exactly?) I think I’m done with this series. I give this book 3 stars out of 5.

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