Review: The 17th Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro



Little, Brown & Company | 2018

Filed Under: B for Beffort.

So, this is the first review I’m posting on my blog of this series, but here’s the sordid background on me and this series:

I have read every single one of the books in this series. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Even the novellas.

You can find all of my reviews on Goodreads if you’re so inclined to watch my descent into pure, unadulterated hatred.

Oh, yes, that’s right. Hatred. I am well-versed in the Women’s Murder Club. And I fucking hate-read this series with a fiery, binge-y passion. Truthfully, I hate mostly everything Patterson writes.

Gather around, children and listen to your elder millennial: James Patterson is a fucking awful writer.

AWFUL. It is maddening to me when people say he’s their favourite author. I mean, to each their own blah blah blah, but your taste needs a kick in the crotch, in my humble opinion, if you truly believe this is quality stuff.

Karin Slaughter. Meg Gardiner. J.D. Baker.

You want to read exceptional crime fiction? Pick up one of these authors and let the excellence wash away any trace of Patterson from your book nerd brain. Literally, anything those authors have written is 100x better than Patterson.

“He’s a terrible writer, but he’s very successful.” – Stephen King on James Patterson.

To top it off, Patterson doesn’t even really write most of the stuff that is put out under his name anymore. He’s “co-authoring” everything to keep the Patterson Book Factory pumping out stories, but nobody really gives a shit about quality or the art of writing.

That is one of my biggest issues with the whole schtick: writing, the beauty and art and humbleness of it have been completely trampled on in order to make money. And it’s gross.

I continue to read this series because it’s easy to listen to on audio at work and because I have a sick fascination with seeing how terrible things can get for the members of the Women’s Murder Club.

The 17th Suspect (these titles make less sense every time) is, in fact, the seventeenth book in the series. And at this point, it’s laughable the amount of terrible happenstance that befalls this one small group of people. I mean honestly. Having baby’s in blackout storms, being blown up in a terrorist attack, being stalked, attempted murder, attempted rape, and battling deadly diseases; not to mention all of the eye-roll-inducing relationship and friendship issues that make me want to barf.

colin jost weekend update GIF by Saturday Night Live

If I have to read about an otherwise strong, badass, career-woman crying about “why won’t you open up to me?! I’m your wife?!” one more time I’m going to start typing my reviews for these novels in all CAPS.

That being said, of all the shitty installments we’ve gotten from this series, I will say this one was less shitty – which is the same thing I said about #16 so maybe we’re finally hitting the road into Mediocreville!

Finding this novel more bearable comes a lot from the fact that the absolutely moronic way these women talk to each other in the other books (“sweety, baby girl, butterfly, honey buns“) was massively toned down, as was Lindsay’s level of being completely fucking annoying and all of the hugging and crying that seems to dominate these women’s lives.

There are still multiple storylines, but in this book, it feels much more separated and easy to keep track of, and less like surface filler just meant to up the page count. Lindsay is investigating what she believes is a serial killer of homeless people. And Yuki is going full bore on a rape case where the accused rapist is a woman.

The Yuki case was mildly interesting to me and definitely had a nice twist to it. But I’m still not sure why Yuki is consistently written as literally the dumbest prosecutor in the entire U.S. justice system. I mean seriously, the woman has the parachute but is missing the ripcord, if you know what I mean. Something even the defence attorneys working against her say to her face, but in more subtle terms.

stupid niecy nash GIF

Lindsay’s case was okay, but the ending of “mommy I hate you! mommy why did you leave me?!” was so fucking serial-killer cliché in its performance that I think I sprained an optic muscle from rolling my eyes so far back.

No spoilers, but Lindsay is super sick this time around. She’s worried it may be a deadly disease she used to have, but beat. I have literally no memory of her ever having this disease and I’m not sure if my memory is failing me from all the weed or if the author(s) is just throwing something dramatic in and hoping no one notices the canon inconsistency. Kind of like when a serial killer Lindsay caught “years ago” wanted to talk to her, but that serial killer didn’t exist in any other book.

I mean there are seventeen of these bad boys, who is actually going to remember everything?

Overall, is this a good book? No. But it’s okay.

Patterson and Co. still create emotions and interactions that feel soap-opera-esque and juvenile, but some of it was toned down enough to not fill me with rage. The cases are still tame but in abundance, so there are ways to keep your attention. I suppose there’s hardly enough time to make plot lines into something deeper when these novels have such a quick turnaround. Storylines that are safe and easy become the go-to.

If you like easy, dime store novels this is for you. If you’ve been reading this series forever because you consider yourself a fan in too deep to get out now, this is for you. If you enjoy a decent hate-read, this is for you. If your time is too precious and your TBR is too big, skip everything Patterson has written for the love of all that is still good in the world.


A series of shootings exposes San Francisco to a methodical yet unpredictable killer, and a reluctant woman decides to put her trust in Sergeant Lindsay Boxer. The confidential informant’s tip leads Lindsay to disturbing conclusions, including that something has gone horribly wrong inside the police department itself.

The hunt for the killer lures Lindsay out of her jurisdiction, and gets inside Lindsay in dangerous ways. She suffers unsettling medical symptoms, and her friends and confidantes in the Women’s Murder Club warn Lindsay against taking the crimes too much to heart. With lives at stake, the detective can’t help but follow the case into ever more terrifying terrain.

A decorated officer, loving wife, devoted mother, and loyal friend, Lindsay’s unwavering integrity has never failed her. But now she is confronting a killer who is determined to undermine it all.

12 thoughts on “Review: The 17th Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

  1. This book may be boring, but your review certainly wasn’t. I don’t know what it is that makes reading about people complaining that makes it so satisfying. I’ve only read one Patterson novel and that was plenty. I’m definitely never picking up one of his books again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey E.J. Things are pretty good. How was Thrillerfest. I saw some of your pics on Insta – looked like a good time! I had heard that he was doing the co-writing thing with Patterson. A lot of really great authors do. Maybe it’s a rite of passage or you just don’t turn down The Great and Powerful Oz. Who knows? He’s a terrible, writer but you know those books will sell so it’s opening JD up to new readers at the very least.


      1. You make some good points there. J.D. said Patterson was very involved in the writing, equal parts, but JD was looking forward to going solo again. Thrillerfest is always so fun. The networking is incredible and I’ve got a couple of serious bites on my new manuscript. Fingers crossed!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I mean, I’ll be honest and say it’s at least nice to know that Patterson is involved in the writing. I don’t know how he does it, pumping out fifteen books a year, but I mean, keep on truckin’ dude. At the very least, I can say I like that newer authors who don’t have the size audience that Patterson does get the exposure. And JD definitely deserves it.

          It’s great to hear about your manuscript!!! Fingers and toes and eyes totally crossed for you.


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