The 8th Confession
Large Print Edition
By James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Little, Brown and Company, 2009, 464 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - June 30, 2009
This is eighth Patterson Women's Murder Club thriller. It is the fifth that he wrote with Maxine Paetro. He composed the first volume of this series by himself and the next two with Andrew Gross. Many of his other books were written with other people. Thus, despite being an extremely popular mystery writer, Patterson's books are not uniformly excellent. This one is a first class engaging thriller.
Patterson composes his mysteries in an interesting manner, and this may partially account for his enormous success. Virtually all of his chapters begin in the middle of a page, are followed by one full page, and end with a half page. The margins along all four sides of the pages are wide. The print is larger than in most other books and the spacing between lines is also greater. Paragraphs are very small, frequently no longer than three lines. Five dollar words appear rarely, but vivid vibrant verbs are present aplenty. As a result, readers are drawn to the pages and do not feel overburdened. Many can read seventy or more pages an hour. Since this novel ends on page 353, it can be completed in five hours, in an enjoyable afternoon or two. This accounts for part of the novel's attraction. But even more than this, the book is enjoyable because it is a supercharged drama with ever changing dramatic events, and it has interesting and likeable lead characters.
The 8th Confession takes the four women that we have come to love into three separate cases. Each case has at least one murder, one many killings. Three of our four fiends take the lead in each case. The fourth, the coroner, is also involved with the detective, newspaper writer and assistant DA. Two of our friends fall in love. Both the murders and the loves are far from simple affairs and are suffused with problems.
One of the murders involves millionaires with no evidence that a crime was committed; a second a slum do-gooder wearing a curiously designed crucifix who was obviously shot and beaten many times in anger; the third is an apparent patricide.
Were the many killings in the first case related? Did this pattern of these killings exist two decades before these events? How was the murderer able to approach his or her victims?
Who could possibly hate a man who dedicated his life to helping the homeless in the second case? What was the motive? Was the victim really as pious as his prominently displayed crucifix seems to indicate?
How could the DA in the third case prove that the daughter killed her father and tried to kill her mother? What does her mother remember about the assault?
Why is this mystery called The 8th Confession? This is not revealed until the book's surprising end, and readers will enjoy finding the answer.
This is an enjoyable and well written book. A good summer read, on the beach or at home.
This review refers to the standard print edition of The 8th Confession. The large print edition contains the complete, unabridged text of the original edition.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of a series of books on Maimonides, a twelfth century rational philosopher, and a series of books on Targum Onkelos, the earliest existing translation of the Hebrew Bible. Both are published by Gefen Publishing House.