One of the pleasures I enjoyed since grad school is over is reading for fun and enjoying a good novel/biography/non-fictional book either on the train to work or in the evening. One particular book series I’ve been enjoying so far is the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson. The book consists of 4 leading characters, Lindsay Boxer, lieutenant detective; Claire Washburn, medical examiner; Cindy Thomas, journalist; and Yuki Castellano, district attorney. This group of confident… not to mention tough badass women take on the most brutal crimes in the city of San Francisco. So far there are 11 books in the series (hopefully Patterson continues to write more) starting with 1st to Die. I had just finished the 8th book, the 8th Confession.
Yuki is half Japanese (mother) and half Italian (father). Even though Yuki does not appear till the 4th book, 4th of July, I was happy to read that a strong Asian American woman character was being written in a major book series by a famous American (not to mention white male) author. While the novel focuses on detective Lindsay Boxer and her solving notorious crimes, the other three characters provide her with significant support as they pursue the murder suspect and bring them to justice. Aside from being San Francisco’s lead district attorney in the series, Yuki becomes one of Lindsay’s notable confidante and friend. Both women console and encourage each other as they go through social relationships and career struggles. Their friendship begins when Yuki is assigned to take on a case in the fourth book where a family sues the San Francisco Police Department and Lindsay for shooting their children where Yuki claims that Lindsay is falsely accused. As the book series continues, Yuki becomes the fourth member of the Women’s Murder Club. Patterson, however, does add elements that reiterate characteristics of Asian stereotypes. In the 5th book, the 5th Horseman, Yuki’s mother, Mrs. Castellano keeps pestering Yuki and her friends to find a lawyer/doctor for a husband and tries to set Yuki up every opportunity she gets and pressures Yuki to get married since she is getting older. Nevertheless, that element gets down-played as the relationship between Yuki and her mother is one of emotional affection and guidance of mother/daughter. As the fifth book progresses, Mrs. Castellano’s life gets cut short when she is murdered by a nurse through a hospital mal-treatment of her brain seizure, an event that strongly pushes Yuki to take a position at the District Attorney office.
Furthermore, Patterson portrays Yuki as a persistent and determined and tough lawyer who does not like to lose cases. If she does lose, Yuki finds ways to redeem herself. At the same time, Yuki is caring and wonderful friend.
I totally recommend this series for anyone who enjoys mystery/detective novels and novels with strong female characters! If you are not a big fan, you should still check this series out…it might change your mind!