BY JAMES PATTERSON
AND MAXINE PAETRO
The Women's Murder Club faces not one-but two-terrifying cases that may tear it apart. The teenage son of California's ex-governor has mysteriously vanished-and the pressure on Detective Lindsay Boxer to find him is overwhelming. When she finally does get a lead, it's devastating. At the same time, Lindsay and her partner, Rich Conklin, must investigate mysterious fires that are destroying some of San Francisco's most beautiful homes-and leaving their owners dead in the debris. But when Lindsay enlists her friends in the Women's Murder Club to help uncover the arsonist, the blazes suddenly rage much too close to home .
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
James Patterson is the subject of a recent Time magazine feature called, "The Man Who Can't Miss," James Patterson is the bestselling author of the past year, bar none, with more than 16 million books sold in North America alone. In 2007, one of every 15 hardcover fiction books sold was a Patterson title. In total, James's books have sold an estimated 150 million copies worldwide. He is the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children's lists and is the only author to have five new hardcover novels debut at #1 on the list in one year — a record-breaking feat he’s accomplished every year since 2005. To date, James Patterson has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times Bestselling Novels, and holds the New York Times record for most bestselling titles by a single author (40 total).
Patterson is a champion of reading and the founder of the PageTurner awards, which seek to spread the excitement and joy of books and reading in the United States. James's first foray into family fiction, the critically acclaimed Maximum Ride series, debuted on the New York Times list at #1 and remained there for 12 straight weeks. The series has so far made appearances on The New York Times bestsellers lists 87 times, proving that kids of all ages love page turners.
Patterson is the creator of the #1 new detective series of the past dozen years, featuring "Alex Cross" and including the Hollywood-adapted "Along Came a Spider" and "Kiss the Girls," starring Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. He is also the creator of the #1 new detective series of the past five years, featuring Lindsay Boxer and the other members of the Women's Murder Club, from which the ABC television drama series is adapted. He has authored books behind six films on the Hollywood fast-track, including the upcoming Maximum Ride movie from Avi Arad, the producer of X-Men and Spiderman. Most recently, New Regency Pictures has optioned The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, James’s newest family Pageturner due out in July of 2008.
He is the author of novels — from The Thomas Berryman Number (1976) to Honeymoon (2005) — that have won awards including the Edgar, the BCA Mystery Guild's Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award, and the Reader’s Digest Reader’s Choice Award.
One of Forbes magazine's Celebrity 100, James appeared as a guest star on the popular FOX TV show "The Simpsons" in March, 2007.
Maxine Paetro is a novelist and a journalist. She lives with her husband in New York.READING GROUP GUIDE:
1. Arson is a very curious crime to commit. Why do you think someone would be drawn to this crime? Do you believe in Freud’s theory as stated in the book?
2. In your opinion, would Junie’s occupation affect her credibility in the courtroom? Should it? For example, is a lawyer or doctor a more credible defendant/witness than a garbage collector?
3. In trying Junie Moon, Yuki tried to use public sympathy for Michael Campion to turn the jury against the defendant. What do you think of that type of tactic in a trial setting?
4. Conklin suspects Chuck Hanni, the arson investigator, for actually committing the arson crimes in the book. Why do you think serial murderers would choose professions close to their crimes?
5. Junie Moon’s intelligence and self esteem are brought up by the defense as reasons why she could have given a false confession. Do you think everyone who confesses is guilty? Do you believe interrogations should be taped?
6. In Junie Moon’s trial, much of the prosecution’s case is based on spoken testimony. What is your opinion on convicting someone for murder without physical evidence, but compelling testimony?
7. The Moluccan cockatoo Peaches, formerly known as Horndog, was described as depressed when it was living in the pet store. Do you think it is possible for animals to get depressed or have psychological problems like people?
8. Joe voices his worry that Lindsay’s relationship with Rich has become more intimate than the typical office relationship. Do you think Lindsay’s relationship with Rich could lead to something inadvertently? Should she request a change of partner out of respect for her relationship with Joe? Who do you think is better suited to Lindsay?
9. Connor Campion was very controlling of Michael because he feared for his son’s life. How can modern parents set appropriate boundaries with their children in an age where kids have access to cell phones, computers and other devices that allow them to live lives fairly independent of their parents?10. As prosecutor it is Yuki’s right to believe the Junie is guilty and her duty to try her as such. There is a moral dilemma if a prosecutor feels that a defendant could be innocent or if a defense lawyer feels their client may be guilty. How do you think defense lawyers and prosecutors reconcile these conflicts?
7th HEAVEN is the latest in the Women's Murder Club series I have read and I feel like I know the characters so well that when they don't act like I think they would in real life, I am a little put off. This novel had two intertwining stories but also what was supposed to be a third that just didn't work well.
The first story dealt with the still missing son of the California governor, Michael Campion. Michael has a serious heart defect and disappeared three months ago and the case was stumping all of them until a tip comes in saying he was last seen entering the house of a prostitute. When this is checked out, the prostitute quickly admits that Michael died in her arms and she was frightened so she got a friend to help her get rid of the body. Of course, Lindsay Boxer and her partner Rich Conklin are investigating the case and with the help of Lindsay's friend Yuki, who is assigned to the case, they are privy to all the gruesome details of the death and the shocking reversal by the prostitute when she takes back her confession!
The second story part deals with the investigation into a case where multiple murders of wealthy couples has everyone demanding the criminal be found. The murders are brutal and the murderer also is an arsonist as he burns down the luxurious homes the victims live in. Readers will see this part from the killer's point of view so are able to see all that happens unlike Lindsay who doesn't have these "clues" to go on.
These two stories keep you interested but for me, the book fell down when what you might call the third part keeps getting in the way. Lindsay who loves and is living with Joe, starts to have an attraction to her partner, Rich. I think this part would have been better off left out as it didn't seem realistic to me and interrupted the two stories. I didn't believe a strong and confident woman like Lindsay who is head over heels with Joe and had just recently moved in with him would so suddenly be looking elsewhere and especially with her partner who she knows on a much different level. I just didn't believe this and therefore it seemed to get in the way of the real story.
If you can forget that and concentrate on the two intertwining stories about Michael's murder and the murder/arsons, you will find an decent and typical page turning Patterson book. But I think the authors just give this storyline too much attention and in fact, it wasn't believable to me so it made me impatient when some chapters about this nonsense came into play. The story is best played out by trying to find out where Michael is and who are behind the murders of the rich people.
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