My LibriVox recordings & my reading journal (solo Litblog).

1st To Die notes; Chapters 78 to 95

cover for 1st To Die

Chapter 78

I wanted to speak with someone who knew him, who might be willing to talk.

It’s a good job Chris found out about the ex-wife then. Someone for Lindsay to visit, to question.
Seems all she really finds out about Nicholas Jenks, at first, is just a vague idea of what a bad husband he can be. I say can, because he still is.
Joanna Wade, the former Mrs. Jenks, is now a Tae-Bo instructor. From her attitude, I get the feeling that she got tired of being her husbands punching bag, she’s now in a position to do some serious punching herself, but only physically. Mentally, the memory of her time with Nicholas still manages to cause some distress, so I’m not sure if she’s capable of kicking his butt. Anyone else’s … sure, no problem. Just look at Lindsay’s description of the Tae-Bo class members,

About eight women sweating in Lycra and jog bras were kicking their legs out karate style to loud music. I knew that Tae-Bo was the latest exercise craze, the biggest burn. Any one of these women looked as if she could take a resisting suspect up against a wall, then beat the patrol car back to the precinct with breath to spare.

Joanna Wade, “barely breaks a sweat”, which means she’s not only physically fit, but that she has been for some time, her stamina compared to her pupils seems to be some proof of this.
And yet, Nicholas Jenks seems to still have power over her.

Chapter 79

Lindsay admits to having read just one of Jenks’ books, “Fatal Charm”.
I’m guessing that the text wasn’t enough to get her into the suspects mind, but it may have given her a vague idea, judging from Joanna.
Who provides a bit of childhood history too, and I’m brought back to the whole nature verses nurture principal that pops up in many books, movies, tv shows, etc, regardless of the genre. From romance to Sci-Fi, it seems to be an inescapable argument that rears it’s head in many forms. From in your face to extremely subtle, from an interesting debate to a simple plot device. It’s kind of interesting how one idea has breached so many different branches of our lives, from fiction to factual, someone somewhere has at least one interesting take on the idea.

It’s with all this running through my head, that Joanna remarks on her ex-husbands first novel, “Always A Bridesmaid”.

I figured that’s what brought you here, what connected him to the murders.

And then Joanna explains the plot to Inspector Boxer. Something he wrote before she met and married him, which means this idea has been within him like some sort of gangrenous, festering embryo.
Lindsay needs to find this unpublished work. It could tie him into the murders as being pre-meditated.

Chapter 80

That was the piece of the puzzle I needed. If Jenks had premeditated these crimes, mapped them out in some early book, it would constitute unimpeachable knowledge. No longer circumstantial. With everything else we had, I could definitely bring him in.

That’s what I said!
It’s somewhat satisfying that I’m at least on the right track as I read this. Not that I mind surprises, I don’t mind having to work for the end goal, to slowly digest and untangle a plot. I just hate it when authors give me the run around. I’ve mentioned that before, haven’t I? *shrugs* I’m sure I have, but it’s been a while since I last picked up this book.

The name of the agent who used to be Jenks’ agent is Greg Marks, who seems to have been unscrupulously dropped the moment Jenks’ got a whiff of success. What a lovely man Nick Jenks is, don’t’cha think?

Lindsay manages to get a meeting with the ex-agent, and questions him with the hope that he may have a copy of the “Always A Bridesmaid”.

I was really humming now. I loved this.

It’s unfortunate that he doesn’t have the book, but then that would be too easy wouldn’t it. Besides, as Lindsay wants to bring the girls in on this, I’m almost certain Cindy will get to stretch her own detective skills again soon.
What she does get though, is more third-party confirmation that Jenks’ is a bloody scary bloke that you wouldn’t want to cross, even on a bright sunny day.

“Here’s the idea for a book he always wanted to write. It’s about a novelist who is obsessed – the kind of thing Stephen King does so well. In order to write a better book, a great book, he actually murders people to see what it’s like. Welcome to the horrible mind of Nicholas Jenks.”

Welcome indeed. Wipe your feet and pull up a hatchet, make yourself at home.

Chapter 81

Oh, blast it all!
She could lose Jenks to the Cleveland investigation, which could mean they may not be able to tie the other murders to him. This is bad, almost disastrous.
Lindsay needs that book, Now!
It could seal the deal with the D.A.’s office and even successfully stake him in his coffin convict him.

Now we might only be able to tag on a concurrent life sentence at a second trial. The Brandts and the Weils, the DeGeorges and the Passeneaus would be crushed. Mercer would go ballistic.

Damn right Mercer would. The Brandts are high profile people, no-one would let that one go.

I should run this up the ladder, the voice sounded in my head.
But the voice in my heart said run it by the girls.

Time for a meeting.

Chapter 82

Not bad, on an hour’s notice the ladies re-convene. Jill, the Deputy D.A., agrees with Lindsay about finding the book.

“…Given that it was unpublished, it’s as good as exclusive knowledge of the killings. It might even parallel the actual crimes. You find that book, Lindsay, we put Jenks behind bars. Forever!”

Cindy to the rescue!
She’s got 24 hours to find that manuscript before they lose Jenks to Cleveland. Whatever it is she’s planning on doing, only the “reporter” of the group has the capability to get the job done.
Go Cindy!

Gee, in light of recent events with the newspaper scandal of phone hacking (U.K. “News of the World” paper closing after over a century in print), I find it vaguely amusing that I’m now backing a (fictional) reporter. Huh, how did that happen?

Chapter 83

Cindy knows she doesn’t have very much time. 24 hours sounds like a reasonable amount of time, but it’s more like 9 hours, as I don’t know of any offices that operate on the same hours as shops and grocery stores – 24/7

The following morning, Cindy sheepishly pushed open the glass doors leading to the office of the San Francisco Writers Guild.

The word copyright had set her off.

She has a decent hunch and I can imagine she desperately wants it to be right. I don’t feel that it’s her ego that needs feeding, but that her friends are depending on her. The end goals of bringing justice and locking up a killer.
They need to find that manuscript, and Cindy is in the perfect position to do exactly that.
The author has written the character well, I can appreciate the way Cindy bluffs and blags her way into identifying that a copy of the evidence is held at the writers guild.
Now to inform the girls.

Chapter 84

James Patterson certainly plans out his novel well, with characters that actually do something. I’ll make a stretch and loosely compare the members of The Women’s Murder Club, to the members of the triumvirate of the original Star Trek TV series.
Each character has a part to play that is a part of a whole, and that feels reinforced here.
It is their collaboration that lands them a copy of the unpublished work of Nick Jenks.

Chapter 85

The collaboration of four gets their hands on the book, and split it into four sections for each member to read. Nice symmetry.
Looks like the club’s suspicions were right about “Always A Bridesmaid”.
The parallels are stunning, which means Nicholas Jenks has been obsessing over these scenarios for longer than anyone would have thought.

“I wonder how it ends?” Cindy mused, fanning to the end of the book.
“How else?” said Jill. “With an arrest.”

Indeed, I doubt the ending will be anything but neat and tidy though.

Chapter 86

Every reason I became a cop was grinding in my chest. This was it.


Nope, the arrest was not neat and tidy at all.
I’m actually kind of pleased that Jenks behaved with so much indignation, means the arrest is so much more interesting for it.
I pity the wife though, this is going to bring home just how much danger she placed herself in.

Chapter 87

… but we had done it.

I felt proud of myself. Whatever happened with Negli’s, even if I never made lieutenant, no one could take this away.

It’s good that she doesn’t forget to acknowledge her fellow club members too, Cindy in particular. Celebrating with hugs and a beer.

After the toil and the chase, it feels like Lindsay can finally relax a little, enough to be slightly reflective about the case and also to take that last step concerning herself and Chris Raleigh.
Trouble is, it all just makes me wonder.
The book began with Lindsay on the edge, and I don’t suppose Jenks is going to make anything easy for anybody, not with the way Lindsay had to drop kick him during the arrest.
This is the first book in a series, perhaps … no. I don’t think I want to openly speculate at this time after all. I have an idea of what’s coming*, but I’m not certain of the circumstances so I’ll wait.
Besides, unlike Cindy, I have never been able to bring myself to glance at the end chapters of any story. It’s just not done! Not acceptable behaviour. No matter how tempting it might be and I have yet to succumb.

(*psst, I reckon Chris is going to get hurt at some point, just a feeling.)

Chapter 88

Just a short chapter, to continue the romance between Chris and Lindsay.

I know it’s a cliché, but that night I made love as if it might never happen again.

Tender but not overly tacky or sickly sweet. Not very provocative either, as most of the sex is left to the reader’s imagination. Which is all the better for it.

Chapter 89

More romance, filled with tender moments and sexy thoughts, and the cloud of Negli’s hovering, threatening to spoil it all for Lindsay.
Now that the two of them have consummated their passions and desires, she needs to get a wiggle on and tell him.

Chapter 90

Charlie Clapper of CSU certainly has a small flair for the dramatic, no matter how weary he appears.

His crime scene team had spent most of the night meticulously going over everything in Jenks’s house.

He does a long winded show and tell for Lindsay, the evidence found at Jenks home proving to be more than circumstantial.
There may be no sign of the 9mm weapon or the wedding rings, but Charlie hasn’t let that stand in his way to assist in the conviction of Jenks.
I think the cherry on top of the icing, is the small bag of beard clippings from Jenks’ shaver, something for Claire to work with.

He patted his pockets, searched around in his jacket. He finally found a small plastic bag.
“Straight out of the sucker’s electric razor,” Charlie announced.
In the bag were several short red hairs.

Chapter 91

Looks like CSU Charlie gave Claire a quick call, informing her of their finds. So it’s little wonder that Claire is expecting Lindsay. She’s ready to compare the hair samples and it’s no big surprise what the result is at this point.

Chapter 92

Nicholas Jenks was in a holding cell on the tenth floor of the Hall of Justice. He was headed to arraignment later today.
His lawyer, Sherman Leff, was with him, looking as if this were all just a formality and the scales of justice were resting on the shoulders of his English-tailored suit.

Well, that was an interesting interrogation.
Loaded with dramatic denials, double talk and an immense amount of backtracking from Jenks.
His poor lawyer only having some of the information from Jenks, and the rest from the prosecution, it’s little wonder the man comes across as in over his head.
I wonder if he’ll continue to represent him after this, or even if he is allowed to pass the case on to someone else. I’m not sure what the procedure is in that kind of circumstance.

Lindsay and Jill seem to almost enjoy winding up the high and mighty author. It’s all in the hopes that he’ll confess of the face of the evidence but, I think Lindsay wants to permanently strip the veneer of civility and smug superiority from Nicholas Jenks, and show the world what a cold, vicious bastard lurks beneath it all.
Pity the Negli’s gets in the way.

Chapter 93

Negli’s crisis under control, for now. Lindsay rejoins Chris for the arraignment of Nicholas Jenks.
Jill works her magic against the not guilty plea and Sherman Leff’s showmanship. Perhaps Leff doesn’t even care if Jenks is guilty. Which means the only sound this lawyer really hears, is the sound of money. I suppose someone has to pay for his expensive English tailored suits.
I digress. Jill works her magic, as I’ve said, and she’s as determined now as she was when Lindsay ad Chris convinced her to take the case.

I felt a surge of triumph rippling through me when the judge struck his gavel and intoned, “Bail denied.”

Chapter 94

Nicholas Jenks had been arraigned. No bail. No consideration of the court. The four of us had pulled it off.
“Here’s to the Women’s Murder Club,” Cindy cheered, with her beer mug in the air.

A small celebration for The Women’s Murder Club, more beer and a pat on the back for getting this far. Jill tells the story of Lindsay Boxer verses Nicholas Jenks in the interrogation room, and Lindsay’s “baddassery” -if that’s even a real word.
Which is where Lindsay sets the record straight about the icy glare she gave Jenks and that had more to do with a sudden attack from the Negli’s.

Jill and Cindy just sat there, rocked in disbelieving silence.
  Then, there were three hands reaching out for me. Cindy’s, Jill’s, then last and warmest, Claire’s. For a long time no one said anything. They didn’t have to.

After the initial shock, the friends support her, followed by a tale from Jill concerning her own personal battles. Something that somewhat explains her personal drive to not be beaten.

Chapter 95

Phillip Campbell becomes Nicholas Jenks, like Mr Hyde transforming into Mr not-quite-as-a-bad-as-Hyde, only to undergo yet another transformation.
The previous change being only a mental shift of personalities, the later being a *physical* change, and not just removing the beard, as I’d drawn conclusions about earlier, but a shift from male to female.

Campbell sat in front of the mirror. Time for you to go away. Your work is finally done.

He pulled out the pins that held his hair and let his locks shake out.

This definitely threw me, and I find myself sceptical of the author and his methods. In any case, I’ve come this far into the story, and I’ll finish it, but that feeling that I’ve been duped has returned.
It could be simpler than that though. I must have missed or misread something. There’s a reason I’m just “a reader” and not an award winning, mega-rich writer. And if you read my blog on a regular basis, I’m sure you wholly agree with me ^_~

I can’t exactly say “the butler did it”, but either Jenks really is innocent (yeah right!!! rofl) or there’s a partner out there. A female partner in crime?

How does it feel, Nicholas, to be royally fucked? The tables turned for once.
She couldn’t restrain the thought that it was fitting and funny that in the end he had been trapped by his own twisted mind. It was more than funny. It was absolutely brilliant.

Judging from this quote, I’d say something went wrong with “the plan“. A little twist, a stab of revenge from the partner.
But will it be a successful betrayal?

Author: raven

Anonymous ;-)

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