The 5th Horseman – James Patterson – Despite its flaws, a very enjoyable book.

The 5th Horseman – galloping out of control!

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(4/5)

Pros:Fast-paced action in two intriguing stories.

Cons: No development of the bad guys – why do they do these things??

 

The 5th Horseman is the fifth book in James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series.  Written with Maxine Paetro, this book is quite different from the previous books in the series.  The same four characters are in this one (Lindsay the detective, Clair the medical examiner, Cindy the reporter, and Yuki the lawyer), but in a departure from the norm, there are actually two stories going on at once in this book.

The first story has to do with women who are murdered, then dressed in fancy clothes, and propped into expensive cars.  The second story involves a lawsuit against a hospital, where patients who came into the ER with non-life-threatening issues suddenly died.

Lindsay is busy working on the first case, trying to figure out who’s killing these women, and what message they’re trying to send.

Yuki and Cindy are involved in the second case.  Cindy is reporting on the trial.  Yuki has a more personal interest as her own mother is currently a patient at this hospital.

The book is certainly fast-paced, and interesting.  Bouncing around both stories, the book is never dull.  Particularly in the second story, there are several twists and turns as we are privy to some of the goings-on behind the scenes at the hospital.  The list of suspects keeps growing, and we never know which way the story’s going.

As far as subplots go, this book doesn’t have a whole lot.  Cindy and Claire remain mostly in the background, each doing their job, but not really contributing a whole lot towards the resolutions.  There’s a bit of drama between Cindy and Lindsay, but that’s to be expected between reporters and detectives, as one makes a living by revealing juicy details to the public, and the other has reasons to prefer that some details are kept quiet.  And there are hints of problems between Lindsay and her long-distance boyfriend Joe.  Simply because her life is in San Francisco and his is across the country.  Martha the dog is still around, but hardly gets a mention in this book.  Odd, since she was very much a part of the action in the last book.

My biggest complaint with this book is that when all is said and done, we aren’t given satisfying motivations for the criminals.  The first story is wrapped up quickly, and never mentioned again.  We find out who’s killing the women, but not why he did it.  And while some of the wrong-doing is explained in the second story, there’s a piece of the puzzle that’s revealed at the very end, with no explanation whatsoever about why.  I prefer books that explain the motives behind the bad guys.  Not to excuse their behavior, but to help me understand it, at least a little bit.

Other than this complaint, the book delivers a good read.  Fast-paced, never dull, with plenty of action, this book is a definite pleaser.  And I love the significance of the title, which is explained at the very end of the book.  Highly recommended for lovers of crime dramas.

1st To Die
2nd Chance
3rd Degree
4th Of July
The 6th Target
7th Heaven
The 8th Confession
The 9th Judgment
10th Anniversary
11th Hour
12th of Never
Unlucky 13
14th Deadly Sin