The Barnes & Noble Review
None of the chilling suspense or bizarre plot twists of Patterson's supremely popular Alex Cross novels is lost in this second offering in the author's Women's Murder Club series, featuring a four-woman team of friends who tend to work outside the system. The female protagonists offer a different perspective on heinous crimes and provide more of an emotional subtext.
After a young girl is murdered outside a San Francisco church, the newly promoted Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer sets out to discover why the killer -- who is soon known as Chimera -- ineffectually tried to make the scene look like a casual drive-by shooting. The case bears a resemblance to another murder thinly camouflaged as a suicide. Baffled by Chimera's motives, Lindsay decides to call another meeting of the Women's Murder Club: Her best friend, medical examiner Claire Washburn; Chronicle crime reporter Cindy Thomas; and Assistant District Attorney Jill Bernhardt. Eventually, Lindsay learns that her own father, an ex-cop, is somehow entangled in the killer's past, and soon she and Chimera are caught up in a battle of wits as the women of the Club become his prime targets.
Short chapters keep the action going by at whizz-bang speed. As the viewpoints shift from Lindsay's introspection to the killer's own brutal mind, we learn more and more about how similar they are in some respects, making this an eventual cat-and-mouse tease of investigation as hunter becomes hunted. 2nd Chance powerfully realizes both its heroes and villains, and fans of Patterson's bestselling Cross novels will be equally delighted with this series. (Tom Piccirilli)
It's been a long time since we've seen a bestselling author of Patterson's clout credit an assistant author on the cover, and good for Patterson for that. The credit is deserved. This is Patterson's richest, most engaging novel since When the Wind Blows and, as the second in his Women's Murder Club series (after 1st to Die), yet more evidence that this prolific writer can roam beyond Alex Cross with style and success. Like all Pattersons, the narration mixes first and third person the first here is voiced, as before, by San Francisco homicide detective Lindsay Boxer, while the third-person sections cover the doings of the other three members of Boxer's informal club, a reporter, a pathologist and a prosecutor, as well as the villain's shenanigans. The basic story line is vintage Patterson, i.e., a serial killer (here, one known as Chimera) goes on a calculated rampage until stopped by the good guys or in this case, gals. As the victims a young girl shot dead, an elderly black woman hanged, two cops pile up, it becomes clear to Boxer and others that they're up against a racist who hates black cops; is the killer a cop himself? The story ripples with twists and some remarkably strong scenes, particularly Boxer's in-prison interview with a crazed con. But what makes this Patterson stand out above all is the textured storytelling arising from its focus on Boxer's personal issues. In the first novel, Patterson personalized Boxer by dealing with her rare blood disease; here, it's the emotionally powerful introduction of Boxer's long-lost father into her life that galvanizes the plot, particularly as Patterson ties the man into Chimera's rampage. Prime Patterson; first-rate entertainment. (On sale Mar. 4) Forecast: Patterson's name, major ad/promo and a 10-city author tour add up to #1; simultaneous Time Warner Audio and large-print edition. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The second adventure in the Women's Murder Club (the first was 1st To Die) places San Francisco homicide detective Lindsay Boxer on the trail of another serial killer. While the murders seem like unrelated hate crimes, a pattern emerges with the discovery of the "chimera" icon and a white powdery substance left at the scenes. Reporter Cindy Thomas researches the icon, assistant district attorney Jill Bernhardt combs likely cases filed, medical examiner Claire Washburn provides forensic clues, and Lindsay chases down the most likely suspect. When that suspect dies, and the killings continue, Lindsay, Claire, and Cindy narrowly miss becoming victims. Written in Patterson's no-nonsense style and read by Melissa Leo and Jeremy Piven, the story is suspenseful, grim, and not altogether predictable. Recommended for fiction collections.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A murder outside San Francisco's La Salle Heights Church brings back the Women's Murder Club, extending a series (1st to Die) that could rival Kinsey Millhone for sales, if not for ingenuity, warmth, or humanity. How could the killer have sprayed the sidewalk with casual gunfire and yet managed to hit young Tasha Catchings, and only her, twice? wonders Lt. Lindsay Boxer. He must have been aiming at her instead of the rest of Aaron Winslow's church choir-presumably for the same reason he strung up Estelle Chipman in her Oakland basement and disguised the murder as suicide. Since the killer, whoever he is and whatever his motives are, is running rings around the SFPD, Lindsay calls in "the Margarita Posse": her best friend Claire Washburn, the city's Chief Medical Examiner; ADA Jill Bernhardt; and Cindy Thomas, the Chronicle's lead crime reporter. In no time at all, the Women's Murder Club--"three of the sharpest law-enforcement minds in the city"--have swung into action. One of them gets shot at, one gets pregnant, and one gets to date Aaron Warner. Meantime, the killer dubbed Chimera is continuing to take blood-soaked revenge for a 20-year-old injustice involving a figure from Lindsay's past, her long-estranged ex-cop father Marty Boxer, in a way that another author might make morally agonizing. Patterson, not one to stop and smell the roses, keeps up the pace by showing Chimera taunting Lindsay and attacking her and her buds, the SFPD running to and fro to counter the latest threat, and the body count rising en route to a showdown introduced by the killer's cool assessment that there's "no one to kill right away." Lots of slam-bang action, though, except for Lindsay, the alleged action heroines mostly have it happen to them instead of dishing it out.