Mystery / Suspense

2nd Chance

Written by: James Patterson with Andrew Gross

Published By: Vision

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            When the Women’s Murder Club first aired in 2007, I found myself intrigued.  This was a television show based on a series of novels by James Patterson.  I had read some of Patterson’s work, mostly from his Alex Cross series, but I had never read anything from the Women’s Murder Club series .  When the show went off the air in May 2008, I felt gypped - just when I had really gotten into this series, it was yanked from the schedule.  Well, there was only one thing to do - check out the series of novels that sparked the idea for a television show in the first place. 

            The first novel, 1st to Die, was an extremely fast and engrossing read.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.  A friend gave me her books, but for some reason, I was missing the second novel of the series.  Not wanting to read them out of turn, I was forced to wait until I could get my hands on a copy of 2nd Chance.  When I finally did get hold of the novel, I found that I couldn’t put it down.

            2nd Chance begins a couple of months after 1st to Die left off with Lindsey Boxer now a Lieutenant in the San Francisco Homicide Division.  Her first high profile case as an Lt.: yet another serial killer.  Seemingly from all walks of life and completely unrelated in almost every way except skin color, Lindsey knows that there is something incredibly important other than race that links these murders together.  Once again she relies on her friends, Chief Medical Examiner Claire Washburn, Assistant District Attorney Jill Bernhardt and Crime Reporter Cindy Thomas, to assist her in cracking the case.  But when this serial killer strikes close to home, will the fallout destroy the Women’s Murder Club?

            Having enjoyed James Patterson’s solo novels in the past, I was uncertain whether I would enjoy reading a co-written effort.  Would Andrew Gross, the co-writer, be able to write my favorite characters in a way that would do Patterson justice?  Would he solely be writing the views of the killer?  I just wasn’t sure what to expect, but once I started reading I discovered that the writing was so seamless, I couldn’t tell which parts had been written by James Patterson and which were penned by Andrew Gross.

            The writing style goes a long way in capturing the reader’s attention.  Patterson makes certain that you realize this novel revolves around Lindsey Boxer.  She’s the main character and, to express this with absolute certainty, anytime we focus on Lindsey, she is written in the first person point of view.  All others, including the killer, are written in third person.  Claire, Jill and Cindy are important cogs in the casework, but in the end, this is all about Lindsey.

            Another trait in writing style that helps captivate the reader are the short chapters.  Although only three to five pages in length, these “scenes” pack a helluva punch and make you want to read more.  I would find myself saying, “Just one more chapter…oooh, how intriguing…maybe a little more…” and by the end of it all I would have read six more chapters instead of just one.

            The characters are interesting both on a professional and personal level and Patterson and Gross make certain that we get equal shares of both.  Women will enjoy reading these novels as they prove that women can have careers once thought to be solely reserved for men, while still having the ability to balance a home life worthy of notice.  Even more appealing is the fact that not everything in the personal lives of these characters is painted with a rose-colored tint.  The authors provide a realistic look at the personal lives of women who take their professional lives very seriously.

            And of course the final draw to this novel is the creative storyline which starts you on a thrilling rollercoaster ride from page one and propels you through so many twists and turns you never find yourself bored for one instant.  I had a lot of fun trying to solve this case with the Women’s Murder Club and the shocking twist in the end through me for a loop. 

            2nd Chance was everything I could have asked for in a thriller novel and the perfect follow up to 1st to Die.  I can’t wait to read the third novel in the series, cleverly titled 3rd Degree.


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