About the authors: James B. Patterson: One of the well-known and best-selling writers, James has authored some of the most popular series in the last 10 years – the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club and Detective Michael Bennett novels. He has also written many other bestsellers including romantic novels and thrillers that can stand on their own. He lives in Florida with his wife and son. He likes to encourage children to read and inspired by his own son, who has been a hesitant reader, he has also written a range of books targeted specifically at young readers. Forming a partnership with National Literacy Trust, an independent UK-based charity, he intends to support them in their mission to change lives through literacy. He bagged the Author of the Year title in the 2010 Children’s Choice Book Award function in New York.
Maxine Paetro: I guess that due credit should be given to the co-author too. An American author, published from 1979, Maxine Paetro has work together with James Patterson on the Women’s Murder Club novel series and other standalone novels.
Having worked as a recruiter and EVP creative department manager at many big New York City based advertising agencies from 1975 until 1987, Maxine published her very first book in 1979. It was How to Put Your Book Together and Get a Job in Advertising, whose 4th revised edition was released in August 2010. People have described this non-fiction book as “the advertising industry’s bible and ultimate insider’s guide to getting in and getting noticed”.
Her journey with fiction began in the year 1986, when she published her 3 novels, Manshare, Baby Dreams and Windfall. In 1993, she teamed up with Dodd Darin and wrote the biography Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee.
It was in 2005, that her journey involving her many associations with the best-selling author James Patterson began with 4th of July for the Women’s Murder Club series. Maxine had known James since the year 1970, as she revealed in an interview. James had also worked in advertising before becoming a full-time author.
About the book: The novel is the 9th book in the Women’s Murder Club series. The story begins with a cat burglar, robbing in the home of a prominent actor Marcus Dowling. After the female burglar escapes unseen, Marcus’ wife Casey Dowling has fallen dead in the house and she was not killed by the burglar. Elsewhere a woman in her 30s and her baby boy are killed by a man. These later killings are repeated in many more lonely places creating overall panic among the public, before the police uncover even one helpful clue to the psychopathic killer. This is that kind of crime thriller, where we (the readers) know the culprits from the beginning. We also know in the beginning itself why Dowling killed his wife. What we don’t know is how all these crimes are linked (they have to be; otherwise why would the author put everything in one story?)
My take: I found the intimate scenes distracting in a negative way, since they were not taking the story forward, but hindering the continuity. The intimate scenes appear to have been placed just for their own sake. I found these scenes distracting in a negative way because they are misplaced in the story and got me thinking about their whole concept about intimacy. I find this whole misguided concept of love and sex outside wedlock as repulsive. If you have already slept with the person you love, what new big and special thing would you have remaining to do after marriage? I do insist that we can write a thriller, without these unwanted intermissions, even when it involves a sex crime. After all, it is a thriller and not a love story. Does adult fiction have to always mean it has to contain such raunchy scenes? I guess some people read these thrillers only for these scenes. Well, each to his own, I am not the one to judge such people.
But what I found particularly appalling about the whole thing is how a female journalist is ready to sleep with a police officer, just because he gave her a tip-off on a murder. Besides it is clear that she is not enjoying it and she seemed to be taking it on herself as a matter of duty for the information! I don’t understand why someone has to go in for such a relationship at all. Can’t she compensate it some other way? Isn’t being an investigative journalist and helping the police nab the culprit in itself a compensation enough? I do understand that theirs is a free society and such relationships are taken in their stride. But I don’t understand what these things are doing in a thriller and these scenes create a bad impression about women and journalists in particular.
I would like to ask one question. What is the difference between such female journalists and whores? Maybe I am too old-fashioned; perhaps my conservative upbringing needs to be blamed for it. But being a female journalist myself, I find it very revolting. I have my own reasons for it. Some people in India, even in a cosmopolitan and supposedly forward metropolitan city like Mumbai, have considered female journalists in a bad light for long because of such depictions and I am not proud to state that I have been a victim of such a sickening impression for no fault of mine. When I started my career, the first opportunity that I got was for interviewing Bollywood personalities. Thanks to one of my now late predecessor and some others, the whole fraternity of female journalists in that field had a bad reputation! It has taken me years to clear this tarnished image of female journalists and now let me tell you I command a lot of respect in the community, at least among the people, who know me (and I don’t claim I am a very famous journalist.)
And I don’t know why there is an obsession for them to depict women in the nude. Casey Dowling is naked, when her dead body is found by the police. Ok, fine, her husband did not have the sense to cover her body because he did not love her. (that’s the only reason I can attribute it to. I can’t think of anything else.) But why shouldn’t the female police officer, Boxer, do it? It is not clearly stated that it is carried out even after the necessary forensic formalities like taking pictures of the dead body. If people can’t respect a living woman, at least they should give respect to her dead body! And then again even the female police officer is made to strip down to her panties by the serial killer!
That’s not all. I’ve still not even talked about the cat burglar’s intimate scenes with her lesbian girl-friend! At this point let me just stop, because I don’t want gay rights activists banging at my door! 🙂 🙂
Otherwise, the plot is fine and they eventually connect the Dowling robbery/murder and the serial killer, which honestly I did not realize beforehand. I thought the serial killer is the cat burglar’s husband. But well I’ve got to say that I was really close. How are they really connected? That is not for me to say, but for you to unravel.
Book Title: 9th Judgement.
Genre(s): Crime Thriller.
Author: James Patterson with Maxine Paetro.
Publisher (Year): Random House (2011)
Number of Pages: 355
Price: (not mentioned on the book)