Book Review of 21st Birthday by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro – Much Awaited sequel
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary – 21st Birthday
Well, it’s that time of the year when James Patterson and Maxine Paetro come up with their annual installment of their Women’s Murder Club series, in this case, 21st Birthday. As always, it starts off innocuously enough. Cindy Thomas, a member of the Women’s Murder Club and Lindsay Boxer’s friend, gets a post on her crime blog and an unexpected visit from an aggrieved mother Kathleen, about her daughter Tara. Tara is missing along with her daughter for 24 hours and Kathleen suspects Tara’s husband Louis Burke to be responsible.
Unwittingly at first, Lindsay gets drawn into the case, and as a courtesy to Cindy, she agrees to look into it. Soon enough, it turns into a murder investigation and a missing person’s case. Around this time, there is also the transition of a new police chief, Charlie Clapper and a role change for Jackson Brady, Lindsay’s boss and Yuki’s husband. While struggling with the change in bureaucracy, Lindsay goes out of her way to investigate the missing person’s case and incurs the displeasure of the new chief.
As dead bodies pile up, Lindsay is torn between her assigned duties and her sense of justice and along with her partner Rich Conklin continues her search for the missing mother and daughter. Tara’s husband is the main suspect and the motive is also there. But there is something off here and Lindsay feels that something is wrong about their opinions about Louis Burke, Tara’s husband. But there is no proof either way, and as the investigation progresses, it seems more than likely that Lindsay’s suspicions are correct.
Then at the time of trial, a new suspect theory is floated by the defendants and Lindsay goes on the chase to wrap up the investigation. But the so called new suspect escapes their clutches, and Lindsay is confused as to who to believe. the one they have in hand or his seemingly preposterous theory of an alternate perpetrator. As the chase hots up, a lot of red herrings are thrown our way, and the seemingly straight forward prosecution, takes a weird turn. It is Lindsay’s duty to see that the loose ends are tied up properly but she herself is not convinced they have got the right man for the crime!
The beauty of the series is that all members of the Women’s Murder Club, Cindy, Yuki, Claire and Lindsay have contrasting personalities and conflicting goals at times, but their friendship is strong enough to sustain through the conflicts and at the end of their combined efforts, without jumping the boundaries of their remit, come together to bring closure to the case at hand.
The series has been running for over 15-16 years now and still remains just as attractive and addictive. Both the co-authors have their own writing journeys but this one, in particular, has generally given spectacular books, making it one of the most loved series in crime thrillers.
Conclusion – Book Review of 21st Birthday
As usual, the book is so pacy that it leaves the reader breathless, a page turner like all its predecessors, and can be finished in one go if one is so inclined and has the time to do so. This collaboration has paid dividends and though James Patterson needs no dividend of any kind, it keeps the legacy going and keeps the fans wanting for more.
For regular fans of James Patterson, this is the installment to look forward to at the beginning of the year, and wonder how they are going to spend the next 360 odd days trying to anticipate the next book of the series! But that’s another story, for 2021, this is it. Go ahead and read the most recent installment of the Women’s Murder Club series and wait for the next one in 2022!!
*I hope you have liked reading the review as much as I have loved writing it! This is a must read for fans of the series and James Patterson, in particular, so go ahead and read it!*