on May 27, 2013
First Kill All The Lawyers by Patricia Clark has great start but fizzles at the end. What drew me to this book was the premise of a serial killer targeting lawyers. What a promising premise, unfortunately Clark doesn't deliver on the promise.
The beginning of the story is strong as Clark pairs up a grizzled street cop and a FBI profiler. They are exact opposites so the reader is set-up for the personality conflicts that will undoubtedly arise as the duo pursues the serial killer but these conflicts never happen because Clark regulates the street cop to the background of the story soon after the beginning. The whole story takes a nose dive at this point.
As the story continues the reader has to constantly battle to suspend disbelief. For example, a brother and sister who both happen to be FBI agents stationed in the Washington D.C. area. A stretch at best but I'm willing to make it to stay in the story. However, Clark includes a famous country singer for a love interest who happens to have an uncle who is ex-CIA, who will conveniently provide all the clandestine help necessary to solve the case. This pushed suspension of disbelief to the utmost limits.
The corny characters were bearable but what wasn't bearable was the ending. Clark builds the story and prepares the reader for a great climatic battle between the serial killer and the protagonist only there is no battle, just revelation of the identity of the killer.
First Kill All The Lawyers had the makings of a great yarn then it just fizzled. I cannot recommend this work to others.
on September 24, 2012
As this book first appeared in 2010, critiquing this author's work in an effort to help them improve as a writer would probably be fruitless, as too much time has elapsed. Instead, I'm writing this review as a sort of `caveat emptor': beware the `wow what a page turner I couldn't put it down it hooked me from the very start' reviews that get you to spend a couple dollars on what ultimately is a maddening piece of disjointed, contradictory and manipulative fiction.
But enough of the tirade: I'll just provide concrete examples, and let the potential reader take it (or not) from there.
1) I may be crazy- especially since this was written by a female- but I couldn't help but feel there was a strain of misogyny in the book itself. All the female characters that are involved in trying to solve the crime have `male' names: Shawn Cleary, FBI agent. Marti, ER nurse (and sister-in-law to Shawn), who also first suspects the victims didn't die from natural causes, and Randi- who has stumbled onto a ring of conspiracy. The female victims and characters have less `masculine' names, such as Melissa and Cheryl.
2) Although it sounds like a crime fighting duo in the beginning, with Cleary and Pulaski as the starring pair, after the first initial scene Pulaski utterly disappears for 25% of the book- only to suddenly reappear. Moreover, his character is vaguely familiar... a la Hieronymous Bosch, only less interesting. When he does appear again, he is still a minor player- which is unfortunate, as a stronger relationship between the two may have helped.
3) Chapter 18 is probably one of the worst expository scenes I have ever read. It is forced, awkward, and seems to have been inserted after the initial first draft in order to give the characters some kind of backstory. A family dinner at Shawn's house, there is some gentle ribbing by her brother (and fellow FBI agent) about `shrinks and blondes'. When she mentions she has a slew of `lawyer jokes' (his profession before the FBI), he literally whines and remarks on how unfair that is... after all, he continues, `You know as well as I do I only practiced until I realized the law had nothing to do with truth and justice and everything to do with money and power.' Ugh. And it only gets worse, when the father chimes in about his feelings of guilt regarding their upbringing, etc. It's like watching a staged taping of `Intervention'.
4) The love angle is nothing short of silly. It's like a `bodice-ripper' novel with a Kevlar vest as a substitute for the bodice. Since Shawn Cleary has nearly a decade in with FBI (noted early in the book) and was a trained psychiatrist who practiced family therapy for a few years before joining the FBI, she has to be hitting 40 according to this timeline. Nevertheless, the first time she meets country music mega-star Nick Wade and his gorgeous everything... he knows immediately she's the woman for him. If you read the book, this isn't too much of spoiler: he also has an uncle who worked for the CIA and has tons of connections... which comes in very handy- and doesn't everyone have someone like that in the family?
5) As Shawn psychologically profiles the killer, she categorizes them into 4 distinct groups: the psychotic who kills for the thrill and has no remorse, the deluded (like Son of Sam), and then the pragmatic ones that kill for a specific purpose. She puts their killer in this category- which is correct- until later he starts to fantasize about killing her, and can't control his lust for killing. Oops- slipped into category one... which Shawn says never happens.
6) The author fails to provide any red herrings in this mystery- which takes away the fun of it (unless you consider the entire FBI force a red herring). In the final `reveal', where we learn who the real killer is... it strains credulity past the breaking point. You feel as if you'd been `had'. If you paid for this book, then you have. It's not so much a `shocker' as it is a `roll your eyes and shake your head in disbelief' that you invested so much time for such a preposterous payoff.
These are just a few examples of where and how the book failed to gel into a cohesive, belieavable piece of fiction. I really wish there was something positive to say about this book, but it just... isn't there.
on October 7, 2012
I picked this up from a list of free Kindle books and decided to give it a try. However, I didn't make it very far into the book, because the author kept switching point of view. To me, this is one of the obvious signs an author needs to spend more time honing his/her craft, OR needs to invest in a highly competent editor. If the author intended to keep switching point of view, then her problem may have been a formatting issue instead (I doubt it though).
The story may be fine, and I don't have any basis for disputing more positive reviews, but not having a handle on POV is a deal-breaker for me.
on April 12, 2012
I got this one for free, its was OK, but the bit in the middle was very boring, I skimmed thru to find out the end. although I had already worked it out in part. They are pretty dumb people in the book who never even asked the question that was blatantly obvious.
What really annoyed me was the romance with the well known rock star. She meets him when trying to find out about the case, then they have dinner, and the next thing its all "I love you, I cant live with out you". How did that happen??? Absolute B/S. The writer needs to get real about that.
The book could have been many pages shorter and it would have still been OK.
I am not sure how anyone could give this more than 2 stars
on May 22, 2014
A lawyer story with a twist...it's not all courtroom drama...but there is drama. Light quick read.
Aside: As with all the books I have thus far read, I really do wish that proof reading and editng were done more conscientiously. Not only do I find this annoying, but character references are often not accurate, or clothing from minute to minute can be different...oddly while driving? Just an observation, albeit, annoying.
on August 22, 2015
I hadn't read anything by Patricia Clark before. I just stumbled on her while browsing and my eyes caught the title. As a retired person of the legal profession I had to see what was new under the old, but well used line. I wish to say that the characters are fully rounded, interesting and hold their own, the plot is complex and deliciously twisted. You try to figure it out but, like me, you probably won't. I was interested in a couple of pages and seriously hooked in a chapter. I normally don't like what seems to be an incomplete resolution and would have appreciated a longer book to accomplish that. However, this is a wonderful read and I go willingly onto book two so I can continue this addicting read. You'll see what I mean. Enjoy!
on August 24, 2015
I’m not a fan of serial killer novels but the main plot in this one – someone killing lawyers in Washington, DC and elsewhere – is interesting. And the first part of the book is a very realistic portrayal of how an investigation plays out in the real world.
But a key element of the plot – main character Shawn Cleary being forced to go on the run after she’s accused of those murders – comes almost 60% into the book, which is way too late. It also makes that forepart of the book a bit draggy as I kept waiting for that to happen.
Clark provides several twists throughout the second half of the story including one big one. She set the stage earlier so the reader didn’t wonder, ‘Where did that come from?’
Clark built the tension several places throughout the book but never put her main character in the serious danger such tension should lead to – not when Shawn was on the run nor at the climax. Both it and the resolution of this story were weak and a letdown for a crime novel. In truth, there was no real resolution, just an ending. And the romance sub-plot wasn’t that strong either. As a result, this story never landed firmly in the romance or mystery genre but wobbled lamely between the two.
The synopsis does’t quite match up with the actual story. In this case, it didn’t irritate me (as other mis-matches have) but it was misleading and disappointing as the story did not deliver what the synopsis promised.
I doubt I’ll read more books in this series unless they fall into my hands.
on October 5, 2015
I am glad I bought all 3 books in this series at one time because the first 2 books did not have a satisfying conclusion. The best part of this book was finding out who the killer was because it was a big surprise. What I mean by the book not having a satisfying conclusion is that even though everything about the story was wrapped up, the one part that was not wrapped up was that the killer was not apprehended. Leaving you to have to read the next book in the series to see if the killer would be caught.
And as one customer pointed out about the story, all the main female characters had male names--which was confusing at times because you had to keep remembering that this was a female. And one time one of the characters' name, Randi, was spelled differently, making me wonder if this was a new character.
One of the things that I did like about this book was that it was pretty clean--no foul language was used & no explicit sex scenes.
All aside from my previous complaints, I did enjoy the story itself.