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The First Victim Hardcover – July 7, 1999

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 413 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (July 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786864400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786864409
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Lieutenant Lou Boldt, the Seattle cop who stars in Ridley Pearson's deservedly popular series, is a sharp and touching figure--perhaps the most believable police officer in current fiction. Early in this ninth book about his public and private life, Lou has to put on a bullet-resistant vest to lead a raid against some dangerous criminals. "The vest was not physically heavy, but its presence was," Pearson tells us.
It meant battle; it meant risk. For Boldt a vest was a symbol of youth. It had been well over a year since he had worn one. Ironically, as he approached the hangar's north door at a light run behind his own four heavily armored ERT personnel, he caught himself worrying about his hands, not his life. He didn't want to smash up his piano hands in some close quarters skirmish...
Boldt plays jazz piano one night a week in a local bar, and despite his concern for his hands, he takes every opportunity he can to get away from his desk and into the streets. But money pressures, caused by his wife's recent illness, also make him think about the possibility of a better-paying job in the private sector. Meanwhile, some extremely ruthless people are murdering illegal Chinese immigrant women and leaving their bodies buried in newly dug graves. An ambitious local TV journalist named Stevie McNeal and the young Chinese woman she thinks of as her "Little Sister" risk their lives to investigate the killings, while Boldt and his team round up a most unusual array of suspects. This combination of hard-edged realism and softer sentiment has become Pearson's trademark, and once again it works smoothly. --Dick Adler

From Publishers Weekly

Impeccably paced, beautifully observed and moving with a crescendo of suspense, this is another thoughtful and exciting Seattle-based police thriller from Pearson (The Pied Piper), whose skill at maintaining a balance between the narrative thrust of his plot and the personal lives of his characters makes him a top-notch practitioner of the genre. We learn just enough about Lt. Lou Boldt's current situation to realize that his recent promotion has had mixed benefits: he misses street work and bends the rules to get out from behind his desk. We also discover that his wife Liz's apparent remission from cancer has created some domestic tensionAshe credits her good results to faith; he can't quite make the same leapAand that financial pressure caused by the loss of her income has made him think about leaving the police force. We acquire this information gradually, as naturally as we would in real life, while being swept along through a heartbreaking narrative that involves illegal Chinese immigrant women being smuggled into Seattle in cargo containers. The story becomes a crusade for two sharp and ambitious female journalistsAlocal TV superstar Stevie McNeal and Melissa Chow, the young Chinese woman McNeal's father adopted, and whom Stevie calls "Little Sister." Lieutenant Boldt and his unusually well-defined team become involved when Melissa goes underground as an illegal and then disappears. Bodies of several Chinese women are found in a public graveyard, the "first victims" of a particularly vicious gang of smugglers. As one of Boldt's colleagues explains to McNeal, "The first victim is generally the one that is handled carelessly." Like all of Pearson's insights into the minds of criminals, cops and citizens, this one is strong, subtle and full of resonance. Atmospheric descriptions of Seattle and some fascinating forensic evidence add texture to a riveting story. $250,000 ad/promo. (July) FYI: The mass market edition of The Pied Piper, released simultaneously, will carry a teaser chapter from The First Victim.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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More About the Author

Ridley Pearson (, the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Wadham College, Oxford University, is the bestselling author of over 35 novels including, Peter And the Starcatchers (co-written with Dave Barry), the young adult novel, The Kingdom Keepers, and two dozen crime novels including: Probable Cause, Beyond Recognition and Killer Weekend (July 2007). His novel The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer, a prequel to a Stephen King miniseries, was a New York Times #1 bestseller, as was Peter and the Shadow Thieves (#1 for 6 weeks). Ridley adapted The Diary Of Ellen Rimbaurer for ABC Television; it aired in 2003.

Peter and the Starcatchers is to open as a stage play, off-Broadway in March 2011, under Disney Theatrical.

Ridley is a founding member of, and plays bass guitar in, the all-author rock band, The Rockbottom Remainders (, with Dave Barry, Stephen King, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Amy Tan and Greg Iles. The band has raised over 2.5 million dollars for charities over its 18 year history.

Customer Reviews

Good plot, sturdy story telling and absorbing character studies.
Another Lou Boldt book ... readers who have been following the series will get more insight on Lou as he struggles with the path his career and life are going.
G. Smith
I managed to get through it, I kept waiting for it to get better - but it never does.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I always look forward to Ridley Pearson books, particularly the Lou Boldt series. Wonderful characters and always a mesmerizing plot. The First Victim focuses on the illegal immigrant trade and shows us what their plight might be when hitting the shores of the country whose streets are paved with gold. Also a fascinating look at the press/news media and how it can either assist and defeat the best interests of all involved in this thorny problem.
This author just keeps getting better and I always look forward to his new books. He never fails me and is among my favorite authors.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Old Fisherman on April 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Seattle police detective Lou Boldt is back and this time he's caught up in the illegal transport of Orientals into Seattle. When a container ship in Puget Sound loses a container full of illegal immigrants and three die, Lou Boldt along with John LaMoia are drawn into the case. To make it even more difficult, a Chinese-american reporter goes undercover and then goes missing while investigating the same case. Boldt and his crew must race against time to find where she's being held before she's killed.
Mr. Pearson is an excellent writer and plot spinner and even though this entry is not as strong as his others, it's still head and shoulders above most of what passes for mystery writing on the market today. I do admit I didn't find it as compelling as his "The Pied Piper" but it wasn't bad. The characters do seem a little less richly drawn than usual but the prose is still strong. You could do worse than read this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Greg Jones on December 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this is the first one of this author's that I have read. The characters are believable (I'm a retired police officer) and the plot held my interest. I read the book over 4 days & could put it down for awhile & pick it right back up and easily start where I had left off. I look forward to the next Patterson novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Uthman on April 1, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
I am relatively new to thrillers in general, and FIRST VICTIM is only my second Ridley Pearson book, the first being the excellent (five-star) PIED PIPER. This was a real comedown in comparison. Another in the Lou Boldt series, FIRST VICTIM doesn't have half the character development of its predecessor. The story of Boldt's relationship with his wife and kids is perfunctory at best. We are told that he loves his kids above all else, which I suppose makes him unique in the world. Detective Sergeant John LaMoia, so subtly flesh out in PIED PIPER, is a cartoon cutout here. Daphne Matthews is nearly invisible, appearing only in cameo, and the licentious Captain Sheila Hill is AWOL.
The plot revolves around the underground industry of illegally importing aliens and making them pay for their passage by forcing them into slavery and prostitution. This is villany at its worst, but the cops never get beyond low-level goons in ferreting out the bad guys. The special guest star of FIRST VICTIM is TV anchorwoman Stevie McNeil, who in Scott Rosema's audio interpretation is given a stilted accent of no particular nationality. She spends most of her time fretting over the disappearance of her adopted Chinese "little sister," while at the same time trying to frustrate the attempts of Boldt and crew too find her. We are never really told why she is so uncooperative, except to the extent that journalists don't trust cops in general. Well, few people like lawyers in general, either, but when we need one, we don't hesitate to seek out the best. Pearson gives McNeil the obligatory sumptuous cleavage, blond hair, and shapely legs, but her sexuality never gets beyond that of a Barbie doll. This is the most chaste novel I have read in a long time.
There are problems with motivation, too.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Maria Sutherland on June 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First Victim is an extremely well written and fascinating story dealing with illegal immigration, sweat shops and prostution. This is not a book to read if you are looking for blood, gore, lurid desciptions of torture victims, etc. it is a book that deals with the mind, strategy, trying to outthink the criminal as well as all the politics that go on behind the scenes of government agents - the in-fighting for credit, the hestitancy to work with each other or at least share information, the struggles of the police to make sure that they do everything within the law so that the criminal doesn't end up back on the street, and corruption. It is a treat for the mind. Ridley Pearson has given the main character Lou Boldt, police detective, a very well rounded character who tries to find balance between his love for his work and his love for his family. The other equally prominent characters of Daphne Matthews psychologist, Sergeant John LaMoia, and Forensic expert Bernie Lofgrin give the story added spice skillfully because of their extremely opposite personalities yet they blend well and compliment each other. The story line flows very well so there is no getting lost between one chapter and the next as can happen so easily in a thriller. One part of the thrillers I have always found fascinating is the forensic area of police work because no true police thriller is complete without it. Ridley Pearson has found a good balance in this area, there is enough detail when forensics is used in the book to keep someone fascinated in the area interested but won't turn off the reader who isn't and has it dispersed throughout the novel which adds to the suspense. This novel deals with the human spirit, the dark side of immigration, corruption and love. This was not the first Lou Boldt novel I have and most definitely will not be the last.
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