Book Review: James Patterson – The Medical Examiner (BookShot)

  • Originally posted on April 6, 2019

Claire Washburn, the Women’s Murder Club’s resident medical examiner, goes into work on Monday morning, to find two bodies from a shooting in a room at an expensive five-star hotel. Nothing too extraordinary there. Yet, when she goes to perform a different autopsy, one of them starts breathing again.

Joan Murphy has no recollection of why she is lying in the morgue, who shot her, or even who the man she was lying in bed was. Which sounds extremely suspicious… this leads onto another exciting story…

The first thing which should be noted about this book, is that it is possibly the most enjoyable novel in the WMC world in many years. Part of this, is the fact that 18 stories in, Patterson breaks from using first person for the first time. In fact, Lindsay Boxer is merely a by-character. The entire of the main plot takes place while her and Joe Molinari are on vacation, 150 miles north. She is present for exactly three dinners and a phone call.

Claire Washburn, Cindy Thomas and Rich Conklin are the three leads this time round. And, honestly, it’s ten times better for it. When I reviewed ‘The Trial’ only a couple of days ago, I felt that Patterson had missed a trick in continuing his focus on Lindsay. As much as I do like the character, after knowing her perspective and her life first-hand ever since 2001, she is the proverbial dead horse. Claire and Cindy, meanwhile, have been repeatedly sidelined. If these BookShots are going to continue exploring the other two original characters left, then they are a worthy addition to the series (and I hope he continues). If they simply revolve around Lindsay and Yuki like every other book he’s put out in the last decade, it’s just a desperate attempt to make more money out of them.

Another thing which has intrigued me is the sudden use of LGBT+ characters through the sidebooks, yet they are still very sparse in the main series. And of the four in these two novellas, two are dead and the other two also have far from happy endings. It’s almost as if Patterson is afraid to offend his readership. It also explains why none of these novellas have actual intimacy or even contact between the potential queer characters, while the heterosexuals have many, many, MANY (poorly written) sex scenes every time. He’s read the Hillary Clinton playbook of inclusivity.

Minor rant aside, this is actually a brilliant novella. I would recommend it for someone wanting to taste the Women’s Murder Club series… But if you’re hoping to get past the first six novels, this really is not representative.

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