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21st Birthday

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Detective Lindsay Boxer vows to protect a young woman from a serial killer long enough to see her twenty-first birthday. When young wife and mother Tara Burke goes missing with her baby girl, all eyes are on her husband, Lucas. He paints her not as a missing person but a wayward wife—until a gruesome piece of evidence turns the investigation criminal.    While Chronicle repor Detective Lindsay Boxer vows to protect a young woman from a serial killer long enough to see her twenty-first birthday. When young wife and mother Tara Burke goes missing with her baby girl, all eyes are on her husband, Lucas. He paints her not as a missing person but a wayward wife—until a gruesome piece of evidence turns the investigation criminal.    While Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas pursues the story and M.E. Claire Washburn harbors theories that run counter to the SFPD’s, ADA Yuki Castellano sizes Lucas up as a textbook domestic offender . . . who suddenly puts forward an unexpected suspect. If what Lucas tells law enforcement has even a grain of truth, there isn't a woman in the state of California who's safe from the reach of an unspeakable threat.


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Detective Lindsay Boxer vows to protect a young woman from a serial killer long enough to see her twenty-first birthday. When young wife and mother Tara Burke goes missing with her baby girl, all eyes are on her husband, Lucas. He paints her not as a missing person but a wayward wife—until a gruesome piece of evidence turns the investigation criminal.    While Chronicle repor Detective Lindsay Boxer vows to protect a young woman from a serial killer long enough to see her twenty-first birthday. When young wife and mother Tara Burke goes missing with her baby girl, all eyes are on her husband, Lucas. He paints her not as a missing person but a wayward wife—until a gruesome piece of evidence turns the investigation criminal.    While Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas pursues the story and M.E. Claire Washburn harbors theories that run counter to the SFPD’s, ADA Yuki Castellano sizes Lucas up as a textbook domestic offender . . . who suddenly puts forward an unexpected suspect. If what Lucas tells law enforcement has even a grain of truth, there isn't a woman in the state of California who's safe from the reach of an unspeakable threat.

30 review for 21st Birthday

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    3.5⭐ Since book 18, I haven't been in love with this series. It's my go to series for JP so I'm disappointed. In 21st Birthday all four ladies are back , but with more focus on Lindsay (cop) and Cindy (reporter). I enjoy when they meet at Susie's for some beer and food to discuss over a case, which this time is a serial killer who targets women and children. The ending was sort of blah. Maybe I just don't care for Cindy as much as the rest of the gang. I love the audio by January LaVoy. 3.5⭐ Since book 18, I haven't been in love with this series. It's my go to series for JP so I'm disappointed. In 21st Birthday all four ladies are back , but with more focus on Lindsay (cop) and Cindy (reporter). I enjoy when they meet at Susie's for some beer and food to discuss over a case, which this time is a serial killer who targets women and children. The ending was sort of blah. Maybe I just don't care for Cindy as much as the rest of the gang. I love the audio by January LaVoy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I will give it 3.5 stars! The latest in this long series by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro offers readers something intriguing and somewhat unique, though twenty-one instalments can sometimes breed repetition. Full of minor character development and some fast-pace criminal work, the Women’s Murder Club has a new case that will pull all four of them in, using their specific skillsets, to catch a serial murderer. When a young woman and her daughter are reported missing, the husband is the prime I will give it 3.5 stars! The latest in this long series by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro offers readers something intriguing and somewhat unique, though twenty-one instalments can sometimes breed repetition. Full of minor character development and some fast-pace criminal work, the Women’s Murder Club has a new case that will pull all four of them in, using their specific skillsets, to catch a serial murderer. When a young woman and her daughter are reported missing, the husband is the prime suspect. While he has an alibi, others in his circle also turn up dead, leading the DA to move ahead with charges. The suspect decries his innocence and points the finger at another man, who apparently has a long history of murderous behaviour. It’s up to Sergeant Lindsay Boxer to turn over every rock to see if the lead comes to fruition. A decent addition to the series, which has surely shown its ebb and flow, though fans of the Club may want to check it out. Cindy Thomas noticed the post on her news blog and knew it would be trouble. Even after taking it down, Cindy thought about the disappearance of Tara and Lorrie Burke, a 20 year-old and her infant daughter. When Tara’s mother arrives at the San Francisco Chronicle to follow-up, Cindy cannot shake the distraught woman’s pleas for help. Tara’s husband, Lucas, is the prime suspect and appears to have quite the hold on his young bride. Trying to appease the woman, Cindy calls in a favour with SFPD Sergeant Lindsay Boxer, who agrees to poke around a little. With little to go on and no sightings of either Tara or Lorrie, Boxer must bide her time. Her background into Lucas Burke shows a reputable English teacher with no criminal history, though there were a number of calls to the police, which Tara dismissed as soon as anyone arrived. Still, Boxer has an itch that there is more to the story. She learns that Burke may have been stepping out on his wife with a teenage student, which does raise a few flags, but nothing criminal, yet. When the body of Lorrie Burke is found along the shore, the case gains some momentum, especially when it appears the infant was smothered. However, Tara remains missing, which only adds to the mystery. A few more bodies emerge, all tied to Lucas Burke in some way, and the case begins to build. It is only when Tara is found murdered in her car, which had been dumped in the ocean, that Lucas Burke’s guilt appears all but certain. Even with an alibi, this is not something that can be dismissed as coincidence. While Lucas Burke is brought it for questioning and arrested, he makes an explosive accusation, that his father is likely behind the murders. Evan Burke is a former Green Beret and may have been behind the disappearance (and murder?) of his own wife and daughter, as well as a string of others over the years. Lucas is certain he has resumed hunting for victims, but with little to substantiate it, the DA moves ahead with murder charges. When the case goes to trial, ADA Yuki Castellano is set to take first chair. She has her own theory, one that she has shared with fellow Women’s Murder Club members, Boxer and Thomas. Still, Yuki will do things by the books and try to get a conviction on the evidence she has before her. Boxer works the Evan Burke angle, which has her racing to Vegas to track down the man and investigate the accusations. While there, things get dangerous for Boxer and her temporary partner, as they corner the elder Burke as he works his magic on a young woman. With Yuki forging ahead in court and Boxer gathering evidence, it will only be a matter of time before Lucas Burke’s fate is determined. It will take all members of the Women’s Murder Club working together to solidify the truth, however murky and convoluted it might be. Then again, the Club has never sought to do things the easy way. An interesting addition to the series that reads well and shows that the collaborative effort of Patterson and Paetro appears to work well. I have been a fan of the series from the start. This is one of the few Patterson collections that has been able to stand the test of time. While I am coming to see that some of these series may have lost their earlier momentum, there are moments of brilliance here, even as things wane. I have always wondered about rejuvenating things with a crossover between Alex Cross-Michael Bennett-Lindsay Boxer, still feeling it might do something for all three protagonists. Still, this book works well and could be read as a standalone, though I never counsel that in a series, as the reader misses so much peering only at a snapshot. Lindsay Boxer’s character development ended long ago, even though motherhood always adds a new layer to her backstory. She is gritty and shows that she is able to work in any environment, something that is changed throughout this piece. Adapting as best she can, Boxer never loses sight of what matters, justice for the victim, and makes her mark repeatedly throughout the book. While the series may be getting a little old, Boxer’s abilities remain on point throughout. The other members of the Women’s Murder Club also have their own moments of glory, though Boxer does rise to the protagonist role with ease. Each has a backstory and some development to offer, complementing the SFPD sergeant throughout. The handful of other key characters emerge throughout the story and offer the reader something intriguing to enjoy. There is no lack of action and suspense woven into the characters or their actions, though few standout as being remarkable. The story was decent, as many have been in this series, though there was no shock factor. It’s a race to find the truth, muddled with accusations and false leads. Boxer and the rest of the Club try to work their respective angles, sometimes stepping on one another’s toes, but always able to find something worth discussing at their regular meetings. The story flowed well and the narrative kept its momentum throughout. Patterson’s trademark short chapters keep the reader pushing through, as I did yet again. Decent characters, believable scenarios, and the trademark connection to a specific number from the title, this is a series that has lasted over the years. I just wonder if the zenith has been surpassed and it’s time to sail into the sunset, making way for something fresh... or at least the aforementioned crossover. Kudos, Mr. Patterson and Madam Paetro, for another decent addition to the series. While I know you are likely a novel or two ahead in the series, I would suggest heeding my idea. I know other series fans have echoed what I said... and it could really inject something into all three series. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    Hard to believe that The Women's Murder Club is 21! I have read and loved every single one and 21st Birthday is up there with my favourites. James Patterson is a go to author for me, I pick up his books without even reading the blurb these days. He very rarely lets me down. With short , sharp chapters, his books are binge worthy and addictive.' As always, we have a case that all the ladies are involved in. Lindsay is dealing with a new boss and shake up of the department. Claire is returning to w Hard to believe that The Women's Murder Club is 21! I have read and loved every single one and 21st Birthday is up there with my favourites. James Patterson is a go to author for me, I pick up his books without even reading the blurb these days. He very rarely lets me down. With short , sharp chapters, his books are binge worthy and addictive.' As always, we have a case that all the ladies are involved in. Lindsay is dealing with a new boss and shake up of the department. Claire is returning to work after her treatment and Yuki and Cindy are working hard as usual.. On the hunt for a big story, Cindy is approached by a worried and distressed mother. Her daughter , Tara and baby grand daughter are missing and she believes that her son-in-law, Lucas Burke has hurt them. She won't take no for an answer so Cindy reaches out to Lindsay who works the case, again the new bosses wishes. But this case is more than any of them bargained for and it will take all of their skills to bust it open. It leads onto what I think will be an exciting book 22 for Cindy as well. I love the women of the Murder Club. They are all strong and determined women in male dominated careers. They work together to find the clues, help each other and catch the bad guys. It is a clever concept and it works well - or we wouldn't be on book 21. Thanks to Netgalley, Random House UK, Cornerstone, Century for my advanced copy of this book to read,

  4. 5 out of 5

    npaw

    So the first two thirds of the book were so good that I thought I might have a 5 star book when I finished. The last third was so bad that I feel like it was written by someone workshopping their first story. Freshman year of college. Not only was it totally rushed after a certain point (don’t want to have any spoilers ) but it had such ridiculous things going on that I am not even fully sure what happened. Things I still don’t get: Boxer goes to Vegas for roughly 24 hours yet her husband and chi So the first two thirds of the book were so good that I thought I might have a 5 star book when I finished. The last third was so bad that I feel like it was written by someone workshopping their first story. Freshman year of college. Not only was it totally rushed after a certain point (don’t want to have any spoilers ) but it had such ridiculous things going on that I am not even fully sure what happened. Things I still don’t get: Boxer goes to Vegas for roughly 24 hours yet her husband and child meet her at the SF airport and act like it’s been weeks. I would have said it is just not how I would behave or think BUT they add how they buy the kid a t-shirt at the gift shop. Their home airport of SF not even from Vegas where she was. And buy the neighbor a hoodie? From their home gift shop?! After 24 hour trip?! When describing a scene with Yuki (she’s the ADA) who is about to give closing arguments, it says she “practiced closing arguments with and gives names of her bossand second chair and then says “and her husband, Jackson Brady.” Brady is a prominent character in all the books and it’s known throughout the series that they are married. The sentence almost reads as if the character needed to be reminded who she was married to. The last sentence of the book they share a group hug. I mean you are trying to tell me that there’s a serial killer who says he’s worse than Ted Bundy and throw in (within minutes of supposedly seeing/reading how horrible it all is) a group hug? Was Barney not available to sing and perform with them? So disappointing. I might have to give up my membership to the Women’s Murder Club.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Let me be honest up front. I read most of James Patterson’s books and have for several years. Some might ask why and that’s another whole discussion best saved for another day. I have really enjoyed some, liked some, and didn’t really care for others. On a personal level, I must admit that his Women’s Murder Club series – focused on the professional and personal lives of four women in San Francisco - has been hit and miss over the last couple of years with more weak outings than not. This year’s Let me be honest up front. I read most of James Patterson’s books and have for several years. Some might ask why and that’s another whole discussion best saved for another day. I have really enjoyed some, liked some, and didn’t really care for others. On a personal level, I must admit that his Women’s Murder Club series – focused on the professional and personal lives of four women in San Francisco - has been hit and miss over the last couple of years with more weak outings than not. This year’s outing - “21st Birthday”- starts off with Cindy Thomas (reporter) and Lindsey Boxer (detective) being contacted by a frantic and out-of-control woman whose daughter and baby granddaughter have gone missing. To make matters worse, she is pointing her finger at her son-in-law, who has a history of violent confrontations with others. While Lindsey tries to find the missing mom and daughter, Cindy investigates the story from behind the scenes. Then things get worse when a body is discovered, and Claire Washburn’s autopsy leads her to suggest that there is a serial killer running loose… Then more murders occur and we are off and running with another Women’s Club Murder mystery… In addition, to the primary plot, there are several other sub-plots going on that involve all of the members of the Women’s Murder Club. Medical Examiner, Claire Washburn, is returning to work as she tries to recover from lung cancer. Jackson Brady, Lindsey’s boss and Yuki’s husband, has decided to stay in his Chief of Homicide role and the newly announced Chief of Police is Charlie Clapper, the former director of the SFPD forensics unit, is being promoted. Clapper views his Chief role as being an “Enforcer” and a stickler to the rules, which causes immediate problems for Lindsey. This is a bit less busy than the last “Women’s Murder Club” novel, which moved between too many storylines at full bore breakneck speed. However, it is just as messy in several ways and I have some real mixed emotions about this outing. Let me start with the things that I liked. There were a few of them. I liked Patterson and Paetro focusing on a major “A” plotline with a couple of “B” storyline developments with the recurring characters. Each of the primary characters had a focused arc that provided development and that I liked. The twists and turns were less predictable than usual and that was nice. And now for the bad news. There were some things that I didn’t like… And unfortunately, they were really key to enjoying the book. The first 100 – 150 pages were interesting and the primary murder mystery started off with promise and potential, but after page 200 it was pretty much downhill until the end. The evidence for the arrested potential killer was so weak, and then went the story moved into a courtroom case, suddenly the writers enhanced it just enough to provide doubt in the reader’s mind. By then it was too late. Patterson may be trying to provide courtroom drama but he is so far from the level of John Grisham and Michael Connelly. It all just felt forced. I kept asking myself how many times is Suki going to be thrown into courtroom drama involving the case of the decade or century? It’s becoming worn tread. As much as I wanted to enjoy it, the last half of the book unraveled. There was a lot of back and forth between two suspects and by the time you got to the big reveal at the end, the payoff petered out in such a disappointing and forced manner. It was like a writer with an outline forgot to fill in the details when writing the manuscript. By the time ending was delivered, I actually felt bad about the outcome, but not for the right reasons. I had no emotional involvement in the ending and was left so disconnected to how everything was supposed to connect together in the end. I just couldn’t buy the square pegs being forced in to the round holes structurally. The story had plot and movement, but lacked motivation, explanation, connection, and heart. This reminded me about how to successfully read Patterson. I think that one of the keys to enjoying Patterson is not to think too hard about his book when you’re reading it. Don’t think about if it’s realistic, whether the clues really connect and make sense, or look for strong quality writing. At its heart, Patterson novels are meant to be escapist mind candy. Like a movie matinee with popcorn. Like summer beach and weekend couch reading. Sometimes good and sometimes not so good. Nothing more and nothing less. My overall rating is 2.5 out of 5 stars. I think that last half-a-star is being kind to this up and down, schizophrenic series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

    This is the only James Patterson series I have read in its entirety and, in fact, the only of Patterson’s works that I continue to read. His writing is prolific and a bit light weight. Although the plot of this one was a bit of a stretch, I do enjoy these characters and visiting with them periodically. If you like this series, or are interested in a quick easy read for relaxation, then you may enjoy this latest addition.

  7. 4 out of 5

    deborah m chapman

    Why did I but ? What a disjointed load of rubbish , I've read all the Women's Murder club books and this was by far the worst , I think Mr Patterson is rolling out far too many books, quality not quantity please Why did I but ? What a disjointed load of rubbish , I've read all the Women's Murder club books and this was by far the worst , I think Mr Patterson is rolling out far too many books, quality not quantity please

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    It all starts with a woman confronting Cindy Thomas in her office at the San Francisco Chronicle. The woman is certain that something bad has happened to her daughter and granddaughter, and her son-in-law is to blame. She wants Cindy to write stories about it and post about it on her blog, but Cindy quickly turns the woman over to her friend, San Francisco detective Lindsay Boxer, who pushes the police to start an investigation and make it a priority. Sadly, it isn’t long before a dead body turn It all starts with a woman confronting Cindy Thomas in her office at the San Francisco Chronicle. The woman is certain that something bad has happened to her daughter and granddaughter, and her son-in-law is to blame. She wants Cindy to write stories about it and post about it on her blog, but Cindy quickly turns the woman over to her friend, San Francisco detective Lindsay Boxer, who pushes the police to start an investigation and make it a priority. Sadly, it isn’t long before a dead body turns up. Will Lindsay and the rest of the Women’s Murder Club figure out what is really happening? Usually with this series, I complain about the characters having plotlines that rarely if ever intersect. Here, I was thrilled to see that the characters, including Claire and Yuki, are working together on one case, and they all get their moments to shine. While the characters are a bit thin, we did like them all and care enough to keep reading. The plot is compelling with twists that intrigue. However, the authors can’t land it. I get what we are supposed to think happened, but in the rush to wrap things up after the final twist, we don’t get a major plot point from earlier in the book explained. Meanwhile, the editing was sloppy, including students at a high school being in class on a Saturday, missing days, and Lindsay being in two places at once near the end of the book. This reads more like a first draft that needed an editor to help polish it up instead of a finished novel. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    As many goodreads readers say, this series lost thrill and excitement a few books back. A good narrator couldn’t save it from disappointment. I don’t think I’ll read this any more.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emma.catherine

    4.5 ⭐️ Needless to say by this point I throughly enjoy this series but 21st Birthday is definitely up there in my top 3 of the series so far. As per usual, James Patterson gets stuck straight in with the story line. No lead up necessary. This story of a 20 year old Tara and her baby daughter going missing is simple yet intriguing. As the plot thickens, we are introduced to more characters and possibilities to explain their disappearance. In his usual style, Patterson conducts this in a controlled 4.5 ⭐️ Needless to say by this point I throughly enjoy this series but 21st Birthday is definitely up there in my top 3 of the series so far. As per usual, James Patterson gets stuck straight in with the story line. No lead up necessary. This story of a 20 year old Tara and her baby daughter going missing is simple yet intriguing. As the plot thickens, we are introduced to more characters and possibilities to explain their disappearance. In his usual style, Patterson conducts this in a controlled manner as to not overwhelm the reader with too much information at once. There were two main differences in this book compared to the previous novels in the series. Firstly, it was very focused on the one story line. Personally, I preferred this style as it was easier to keep track of rather than the multiple storyline’s thag Patterson often writes about. The second difference I wasn’t so keen on; there was less of the personal side of these women’s lives included in this story. As always these strong and independent women work fantastically together and alone to piece together an intriguing case. Twists and turns until the very...very end!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Menezes

    When a distraught mother pleads with San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas to investigate the disappearance of her daughter, Tara, and baby granddaughter, Cindy immediately loops in SFPD Sergeant Lindsay Boxer. The prime suspect is Tara's schoolteacher husband, Lucas Burke, until he puts forward a theory of his own that unexpectedly connects the dots on a constellation of killings. As the case grows into something far bigger than any of them could have imagined, the four friends will need When a distraught mother pleads with San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas to investigate the disappearance of her daughter, Tara, and baby granddaughter, Cindy immediately loops in SFPD Sergeant Lindsay Boxer. The prime suspect is Tara's schoolteacher husband, Lucas Burke, until he puts forward a theory of his own that unexpectedly connects the dots on a constellation of killings. As the case grows into something far bigger than any of them could have imagined, the four friends will need each other to help unpick the truth from a web of lies. Another amazing addition to one of my favorite series of all time! One of the highlights for me with this series are the characters. Their bond and the way the work together as a team despite being in different fields is so amazing. The plot is intriguing and it contains enough suspense and twists to keep you hooked till the end. However, the ending is a bit rushed. It leaves you slightly disappointed and asking for more. Thank You NetGalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for this ARC!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dan Morris-adams

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I’ve read all of the books in this series (and many other Pattersons) and they seem to be getting worse by the book. This was speedy enough, but the ending was appalling. Rushed, muddled, and hugely unsatisfactory. Worst for me was that through the whole of the first half of the book, it was obvious there wasn’t enough evidence that Lucas was the killer. They still convicted him, but there were no recriminations for Boxer or her team who effectively ruined a man’s life, before he took it in priso I’ve read all of the books in this series (and many other Pattersons) and they seem to be getting worse by the book. This was speedy enough, but the ending was appalling. Rushed, muddled, and hugely unsatisfactory. Worst for me was that through the whole of the first half of the book, it was obvious there wasn’t enough evidence that Lucas was the killer. They still convicted him, but there were no recriminations for Boxer or her team who effectively ruined a man’s life, before he took it in prison. Perhaps this is a commentary on police procedures and the justice system in the US? I don’t know. Either way, the book ends terribly and it is the last of this series, and probably Patterson’s, that I will ever read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Yes, I’m very surprised! This had been a series that just seemed to keep going downhill for me. I had very low expectations but I ended up having a hard time putting this one down! It’s probably close to the top of my series favorites. There is only one mystery going on, not multiple, and all of the murder club is involved equally. Well, Lindsay is front and center, as she should be. This book is set up like an episode of law and order, part one being the investigation, part two the courtroom dr Yes, I’m very surprised! This had been a series that just seemed to keep going downhill for me. I had very low expectations but I ended up having a hard time putting this one down! It’s probably close to the top of my series favorites. There is only one mystery going on, not multiple, and all of the murder club is involved equally. Well, Lindsay is front and center, as she should be. This book is set up like an episode of law and order, part one being the investigation, part two the courtroom drama. I hope that this series can keep the momentum, and I would highly recommend it, even as a stand-alone.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    First off I want to say a huge thank you to the publisher Hachette Audio , and to the authors James Patterson and Maxine Paetro for the invite to read and review their new book, as well as sending me the link to get it though Play Books. As well as for them helping me to find a new series to start , after listening to this one and since I just checked and saw that they was also narrated by January LaVoy , I can wait to listen to more of them. In fact this will be the seconds series of his that I First off I want to say a huge thank you to the publisher Hachette Audio , and to the authors James Patterson and Maxine Paetro for the invite to read and review their new book, as well as sending me the link to get it though Play Books. As well as for them helping me to find a new series to start , after listening to this one and since I just checked and saw that they was also narrated by January LaVoy , I can wait to listen to more of them. In fact this will be the seconds series of his that I'm reading the first is his Alex Cross and I never thought I would find another series of his I would actually like,like I did that one but now I have. In fact this was my first time listing to January LaVoy and the way she read the story made me love it and enjoy it even more then I could every hopeful . She made the story come to life , there was times I forgot I was actually listening to an audio book , I thought doing those times I was watching a new tv show . As for the story itself wow what a ride, it kept me going back and forth on who was the killer .

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paula Phillips

    I have been for years a fan of James Patterson's books ever since I discovered the 2nd book in the Women's Murder Club at a book sale. Some of his books are misses and others are hits. A couple of his series that I have stayed faithful to are the Alex Cross Series and the Women's Murder Club series. However, this one had me questioning whether like the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich which is up to Book #27 whether this series is on its last legs. I just felt that this particular one wa I have been for years a fan of James Patterson's books ever since I discovered the 2nd book in the Women's Murder Club at a book sale. Some of his books are misses and others are hits. A couple of his series that I have stayed faithful to are the Alex Cross Series and the Women's Murder Club series. However, this one had me questioning whether like the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich which is up to Book #27 whether this series is on its last legs. I just felt that this particular one wasn't as good as the others as it felt so open-ended and just a whole bunch of theories being chucked out as though we had several murders, everything about it and the evidence was all circumstantial and nothing could stick and then when it did, they chucked a whole new angle on the story which ruined their chances. I did however have a little chuckle in this book as there was a comment about Lindsay and Claire being likened to Rizzoli and Isles. It made me laugh as the actress who played Rizzoli in the TV series was also the same actress Angie Harmon who played Lindsay Boxer in the TV adaption of Women's Murder Club. This book starts with a missing person's case of a daughter and her baby, no one seems to believe the mother of the daughter except for Lindsay and Cindy. As the hunt continues, we have bodies washing up, being found in the local park and high school grounds. Are they all connected? Find out in 21st Birthday by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro today.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    Another awesome keep you guessing mystery.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Rhode

    Continues to be my favorite Patterson series. Maybe not quite a 4 star read, but a good one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    ⭐️ 3 ⭐️ Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. I enjoyed the fast pace of this book. I liked the characters, the narrative and the twists and turns of the plot. Unfortunately, the HUGE thing that spoiled it for me was the ending. I felt it was rushed and abrupt. A lot of questions remained unanswered and it just fell flat. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wayland Smith

    This series started great, but I think it's a bit strained at this point. I still enjoy the characters, and they seem to have mercifully steered clear of the over-stuffed plots of some of Patterson's other work (I swear the last Alex Cross I read had something like 3 big villains and a few major subplots), but parts of it are just not working as well as they used to. Cindy, the reporter, gets a major book deal out of a story she wrote about this big serial killer case. When was that? Oh, yeah, n This series started great, but I think it's a bit strained at this point. I still enjoy the characters, and they seem to have mercifully steered clear of the over-stuffed plots of some of Patterson's other work (I swear the last Alex Cross I read had something like 3 big villains and a few major subplots), but parts of it are just not working as well as they used to. Cindy, the reporter, gets a major book deal out of a story she wrote about this big serial killer case. When was that? Oh, yeah, now that we've started the book that way, let's go back and tell the story. A crazed woman storms Cindy's office at the Chronicle, insisting that her son in law killed her daughter and granddaughter. Cindy listens to her, sorts out some of the ranting, and puts her in touch with Lindsay, the cop, who tends to be the main character of the series. Naturally, there's something to the woman that no one else believed. The case takes a lot of weird twists and turns, and one of the ongoing issues with the series crops up again. Yuki is supposed to be this amazing prosecutor, but she tends to lose and, when she doesn't, there's something else wrong with the case. With her record, I'm not sure why her boss keeps giving her high profile cases. We also get the cliche of boss is very by the book and Lindsay goes semi-rogue to work the case, which should have had a lot more consequences than it did. And of course, her husband Joe just happens to know someone from his earlier career that can help with the case. Again. Some series manage to stay strong, or grow, as they go (Spenser, Dresden Files, In Death). This one doesn't seem to quite maintain that. The book is worth the read, but it could have been better.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    The Women’s Murder Club mysteries constitute the longest running of James Patterson’s collaborative series. He and veteran co-author Maxine Paetro have crafted a template that is immediately familiar, but new elements are introduced to keep each installment fresh and unpredictable. Readers coming on board for the first time are never at sea with what has occurred before, while those who have been there from the beginning always find their loyalty rewarded. That brings us to the newly published 21 The Women’s Murder Club mysteries constitute the longest running of James Patterson’s collaborative series. He and veteran co-author Maxine Paetro have crafted a template that is immediately familiar, but new elements are introduced to keep each installment fresh and unpredictable. Readers coming on board for the first time are never at sea with what has occurred before, while those who have been there from the beginning always find their loyalty rewarded. That brings us to the newly published 21st BIRTHDAY, a title with multiple meanings. Its prologue begins at the end and then jumps back five months in time to the office of San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas. Cindy, a longtime member of the unofficial but very real Women’s Murder Club, has her office invaded by Kathleen Wyatt, who is not unknown to Cindy. If Kathleen has a penchant for speaking in italics, it is with good reason. Kathleen's 20-year-old daughter, Tara, is missing --- just shy of her 21st birthday --- as is her infant girl, Lorrie. Kathleen is convinced that Tara’s husband, Lucas, is responsible for their disappearances with accusations that border on hysterics. But that does not mean she is wrong. Cindy hands Kathleen off to Detective Lindsay Boxer just as there is a change in the hierarchy of Lindsay’s division, causing a domino effect in her life going forward. At first Lindsay cannot handle the case because she deals with homicides, and there isn’t a body. That changes, and she starts investigating what appears to be a serial killer at work, even as Tara and her baby are still missing. The murders have a potential tie to Lucas, though medical examiner Claire Washburn helps to avoid a rush to judgment. Lucas is certainly a prime suspect, though. A teacher at a local private high school, he is in his 40s and likes his dates and his wives to be legal, if barely so. He even had his next spouse all picked out even before Tara and Lorrie disappeared. When an additional pair of tragic discoveries take place, he is charged with murder. Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano is tasked with the case. Lucas has a questionable alibi, but also offers a separate SODDI defense --- “some other dude did it” --- which rocks both the investigation and the trial. Lindsay is duty-bound to investigate Lucas’ story, which seems false; if true, it could have implications far beyond San Francisco. The truth eventually comes out and will linger with the reader long after the final sentence is presented. In many ways, 21st BIRTHDAY is the best volume in this fine series thus far. It features the unique plotting and skillfully written presentation that Patterson and Paetro have brought to it since their collaboration began. As with the books that have gone before, it is a wild ride that leaves the reader hungry for the next one. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeannie Walker

    Wow! I really didn't want this one to end the way it did. I wanted more. Hopefully, James P. Writes a 22nd and a continuance of this one. Very suspenseful and definitely kept my interest. I hated to put it down. Wow! I really didn't want this one to end the way it did. I wanted more. Hopefully, James P. Writes a 22nd and a continuance of this one. Very suspenseful and definitely kept my interest. I hated to put it down.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stevie (Books & Barks)

    I can't believe we are 21 in! This has been my 'go to' series since day one, I will always buy/read them and I rarely read what its about it prior to because I know I'm going to like it. This was another great one, it focused more on Cindy and Yuki with a trial, the story was really good, very in depth and the secondary characters were well done. Interesting ending, I'm wondering if parts will go into the next one so I'm looking forward to it! I can't believe we are 21 in! This has been my 'go to' series since day one, I will always buy/read them and I rarely read what its about it prior to because I know I'm going to like it. This was another great one, it focused more on Cindy and Yuki with a trial, the story was really good, very in depth and the secondary characters were well done. Interesting ending, I'm wondering if parts will go into the next one so I'm looking forward to it!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    I’m such a sucker for JP books. They are such a great palate cleanser between heavier reads!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Of all the "partners" I truly think Maxine Paetro is the most talented. These engaging story lines are all hers and she never fails to please. I have followed the Women's Murder Club since Book 7 and it just keeps getting better and better. There is always one character who stands out and one who makes me mad in these books. In this case, it was Cindy Thomas. I am quite biased when it comes to American News Journalists so perhaps that is my gripe but that character was a bit irritating. My favor Of all the "partners" I truly think Maxine Paetro is the most talented. These engaging story lines are all hers and she never fails to please. I have followed the Women's Murder Club since Book 7 and it just keeps getting better and better. There is always one character who stands out and one who makes me mad in these books. In this case, it was Cindy Thomas. I am quite biased when it comes to American News Journalists so perhaps that is my gripe but that character was a bit irritating. My favorite character, except for Lindsey Boxer is her husband Joe. Joe really comes through and is the key to breaking this case. There are some new twists in "homicide" which I believe will prove to be very interesting in the future. Well done! Can't wait for the next!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I have read all 21 books in this James Patterson series.... this was one of the best!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for an advance copy of 21st Birthday, the twenty first novel to feature San Francisco’s Women’s Murder Club. Kathleen Wyatt is distraught over the disappearance of her daughter, Tara and granddaughter, Lorrie and contacts reporter Cindy Thomas. Cindy, believing her story contacts Sergeant Lindsay Boxer of SFPD. Tara’s husband, Lucas Burke, on the other hand, think Tara is acting out. When bodies are found Lindsay and Cindy get toget I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for an advance copy of 21st Birthday, the twenty first novel to feature San Francisco’s Women’s Murder Club. Kathleen Wyatt is distraught over the disappearance of her daughter, Tara and granddaughter, Lorrie and contacts reporter Cindy Thomas. Cindy, believing her story contacts Sergeant Lindsay Boxer of SFPD. Tara’s husband, Lucas Burke, on the other hand, think Tara is acting out. When bodies are found Lindsay and Cindy get together with medical examiner, Claire Washburn and assistant DA, Yuki Castellano to investigate the murder and some outlandish claims Lucas Burke is making. I enjoyed 21st Birthday which is a plot driven novel with all the requisite twists and turns. It is told mostly from Lindsay in the first person and Cindy in the third’s points of view. This shift is interesting in that it offers more perspective, but I don’t think the first person narrative adds much intimacy, as is often the case. Probably because characterisation isn’t a strong suit in this series and is more intended to support the plot than be explored. The plot is suitably engrossing and basically comes down to the question of who to believe with two characters offering conflicting stories. I’m not sure that this is fully resolved by the end of the novel and the reader is left to draw their own conclusions. I haven’t. The novel is comprised of the investigation and a courtroom drama where Yuki tries the case. This latter is tension filled and the reader rides the doubt alongside her. It isn’t particularly credible as it’s superficial but I think that is by design, to keep the reader hooked and involved. If this is the case it works well. The investigation is similarly superficial, fixating on a single suspect from the start, until the big twist and it’s a cracker. 21st Birthday is an entertaining read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Smith

    Kept you guessing who really did it !could not put it down As usual a great book from James Patterson read all 1 to 21 love them

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))

    “We [four] needed to be together. We needed to hash it all out. Maybe between us, we’d hone in on that little girl’s killer.” 3.5/5 This was one of the better Women’s Murder Club in awhile. All 4 characters are included and do their part to work together to solve the mystery of who is killing the women surrounding Lucas Burke. *Trigger warning for a murdered infant, which is mentioned throughout the book.* “These two Burkes were twisted and they’d twisted me.” I thought this one was a pretty fun “We [four] needed to be together. We needed to hash it all out. Maybe between us, we’d hone in on that little girl’s killer.” 3.5/5 This was one of the better Women’s Murder Club in awhile. All 4 characters are included and do their part to work together to solve the mystery of who is killing the women surrounding Lucas Burke. *Trigger warning for a murdered infant, which is mentioned throughout the book.* “These two Burkes were twisted and they’d twisted me.” I thought this one was a pretty fun and clever read. I couldn’t decide on a killer throughout, which was intriguing, but I felt the ending wasn’t really satisfying. I wanted more background on the suspected killers, to see more of their pasts and maybe gain a *why*. I also enjoyed the little glimpses of San Francisco and Vegas throughout, since books are the only way I can travel these days! I’ll be keeping an eye out for number #22.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karen Barber

    21st Birthday is fairly standard Murder Club fare...with a case that the club are desperate to solve. We have a missing young mother and child, with an ex-husband suspected of the murder. Nobody is quite sure what has happened but we quickly work out that someone is determined to hide what they've done. Our main suspect is teacher Lucas Burke, and his student girlfriend is definitely part of a potential reason. However, when Lucas is eventually brought in and charged he is adamant that his father 21st Birthday is fairly standard Murder Club fare...with a case that the club are desperate to solve. We have a missing young mother and child, with an ex-husband suspected of the murder. Nobody is quite sure what has happened but we quickly work out that someone is determined to hide what they've done. Our main suspect is teacher Lucas Burke, and his student girlfriend is definitely part of a potential reason. However, when Lucas is eventually brought in and charged he is adamant that his father killed his daughter and wife...and that this is the start of his killings. Throughout we get details about the killings and the reaction of the women to what has happened. If I'm being honest, there was nothing particularly new here. I felt like I wanted to know what had happened, but the reality was always somewhat elusive...and not for any reason other than to feel things were being spun out a little longer.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jim Welke

    Overall, the story was interesting but, the writing seemed sloppy for a mystery novel, much less a novel from James Patterson. Not sure why Paetro moves the story backward in time and then forward in time, the prologue seems like a waste. Did Boxer really kick in a door with high heels on or did she do it barefoot? The author went to great lengths to describe the dress Boxer was wearing at the casino, did we really need to be told she wasn't wearing a vest? The police uncovered two different bur Overall, the story was interesting but, the writing seemed sloppy for a mystery novel, much less a novel from James Patterson. Not sure why Paetro moves the story backward in time and then forward in time, the prologue seems like a waste. Did Boxer really kick in a door with high heels on or did she do it barefoot? The author went to great lengths to describe the dress Boxer was wearing at the casino, did we really need to be told she wasn't wearing a vest? The police uncovered two different buried bodies, not part of the Burke case. Why offer up more dead bodies without some kind of a resolution to their specific cases? Could a San Francisco police officer drive out to the middle of nowhere in northern California and find a fugitive the FBI can't locate? The ending didn't really seem like an ending, was really looking forward to a complete story.

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