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12th of Never: A Review

Updated on November 29, 2013

Plot Synopsis

The 12th installment of the Women’s Murder Club takes off to an exciting start: Sergeant Lindsay Boxer, career homicide inspector with the SFPD, is finally in labor with her first child. In a storm. Without power. Alone. Luckily, being with the SFPD gives her some perks, and she gets the 9-1-1 dispatcher to send the nearest vehicle, a fire truck, and Lindsay delivers her baby girl right there the bed she shares with Joe. She’s over-the-moon happy, but her happiness is cut short when just three weeks after her daughter’s birth Lindsay is called back to work by Chief of Police and long-time good friend Warren Jacobi, and as much as Lindsay wants to stay home with her husband and baby, she can’t rest when there are killers to be caught. But Joe and Baby Julie are always in the corner of her mind, and that corner is quickly shadowed by horrifying news: Baby Julie is very sick, and it could be malignant lymphoma, a fast-moving leukemia that would require Julie to undergo intense chemotherapy. Lindsay and Joe are crushed. The fear of losing their daughter is unimaginable.

But Lindsay is still a cop, a good cop, and up until she can’t take being away from her baby any more she continues to investigate. Fashion star Faye Farmer, girlfriend to a star player for the SF 49ers, is dead, and Claire is about to do the autopsy when the body suddenly disappears from her morgue in the middle of the night. Almost like it got up and walked out on its own. It’s obvious that whoever took the body had to have key access to the morgue, and so Claire is put on leave while a new ME is brought in to cover for her until the investigation is complete. Without the body, the case is a complete dead-end and gets put on the back burner in favor of more promising cases.

Like the case of Dr. Perry Judd, a man claiming to be having prophetic dreams about future murders. Rich Conklin, in Lindsay’s absence, teams up with summer intern MacKenzie Morales and they decide that Judd is off his rocker. That is, until his first dream comes true, down to the victim’s blue-painted toenails. With Lindsay back, Rich investigates further and Judd’s solid alibies for the first two murders leave everyone completely baffled. And then, Judd himself is gunned down, a victim of his third and final murder dream. All leads are lost. In the meantime, Rich and Cindy’s relationship takes a turn for the worse, and the sparks between him and Mackie Morales heat to a stead flame. Lindsay also is distracted from Judd’s case and called in to help close on Randall Fish, a serial rapist and murderer who failed to give up the locations of his victims’ bodies before going into a coma for two years. Now that he’s awake, his obsession with Lindsay calls her into the fray, and as they grasp desperately at the straws Fish throws them, an incredible connection between Fish and Judd’s murder dreams surfaces. That connection, my friends, will leave you angry and speechless.

This book was great. Just great. I give it a sparkling 4 out of 5 stars. Read on to find out why!

The Highs

As I mentioned in my review of 11th Hour (insert link), James Patterson is an absolute master at working the cliff hanger. He’s also a master at hitting his readers right where it hurts them the most. Throughout my reviews of the Women’s Murder Club, I have stressed how invested I am in Lindsay’s romantic life. I’m a hopeless romantic and I want everyone to find their soul mates and live happily ever after. So, when Patterson broke them up, I was heartbroken. When Lindsay almost went for Rich instead of Joe I silently screamed at the pages. And when Baby Julie Molinari got so damn sick my heart dropped to my toes, and I flipped desperately through the pages to find the resolution. That is what keeps me reading James Patterson’s novels: he makes me fall totally in love with his characters, he keeps me invested in their lives, and when something bad happens to them I have to keep reading in the hopes that everything will turn out ok, even if the rest of the book is lack-luster (which 12th of Never wasn’t, but I’ve had the experience with other Patterson novels. 10th Anniversary for example).

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The Lows

Again, I mentioned in my review of 11th Hour that Cindy Thomas was starting to get on my nerves, but honestly there is a deeper root to my annoyance with her. James Patterson loves strong female leads, and I love that too. In a world of Bella Swans and Elena Gilberts, women and girls need literary role models that they can look up to, that they can and should aspire to be like. I admire every single one of the members of the Women’s Murder Club for their tenacity, their strength, and their commitment to their careers. It’s admirable and beautiful.

But, underneath this commitment to the strong female roles there is an underlying theme of the archetype of the emotional, uncontrollable woman, as well as the emotionally distant career woman. Take Cindy for example: she’s engaged to Rich Conklin, the man of her dreams, the man she’s ready to marry, and instead of working to build her relationship her fear of commitment throws her into her work, and she ignores Rich. Her relationship falls apart because she was unwilling to find the balance between work and home until it was too late. You can call me young and naïve, and I honestly won’t argue with you. I’m 22 and I’ve got a lot to learn. But I do know that when you love someone, when you commit to being with them, you try your best to give them the attention they deserve. And so should your partner. I find it annoying and discouraging that Cindy doesn’t even seem willing to try to find that balance.

Now, take the other archetype of the uncontrollable woman and you get Yuki and Lindsay, both of whom have frequent emotional outbursts in court or interrogations. I know everyone is subject to these outbursts, but they seem to come more frequently for Lindsay and Yuki, and it makes them look, for lack of a better word, bad, and it gives whoever they’re up against – dirt bag defense attorney, jackass reporter, disgusting murderer-rapist, whatever – the upper hand that they absolutely don’t deserve. I know this archetype is unavoidable, but it just irritates me. Mini rant over.

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