Title: Guilty Wives
Author: James Patterson & David Ellis
Copyright: James Patterson 2012
Blurb: Blurb extract: Sitting in a dark, dank prison cell in Pars, serving a life sentence for murder, Abbie Elliot tries to piece together the story of how she came to be here. It all happened in Monte Carlo, where she was having the holiday of a lifetime with her three best friends away from their stifling lives, and husbands…
Plot: The story is really described in the blurb, which goes on to explain “…Abbie has been set up, she knows it. But now she must find out who would do this to her, and why. Or she will spend the rest of her life rotting in that cell”
I wasn’t going to pick up this book, despite recommendations, as it looked a bit tacky and predictable with a beautiful woman in evening dress and handcuffs on the cover. However it was brilliant! I love it, a proper page turner. The other reason I love it is short chapters! Oh yes the joy of reading two or three pages, moving on in the plot and being left with another cliffhanger you need to resolve so you read on. I’m fairly sure I’ll use the same model in my own work. It’s a joy and suits the genre to perfection.
The book is written in ‘flashback’ the prologue set 13 months later. It’s a clever hook to get the reader immersed in the story and leave them keen to dive back in time. It’s then written in the most part in first person, the protagonist being the narrator. It all clicked.
Characters: The protagonist is one of the ‘guilty wives’ of the title. However what exactly is she guilty of, infidelity or murder, or both? It’s a refreshing change to have a story based around a woman who isn’t defined by her husband or career but just as a ballsy lady who fights the system.
The other characters are described just enough for the plot to make sense however I didn’t really engage with any of them. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a few times I lost who was who, although the author I think knew that would happen as they put in subtle reminders of who was married to who etc.
Ugly bad guys, beautiful good guys, stereotyped but just what the plot demands.
Conclusion: The format is obviously spot on, James Patterson is not on the best seller lists week and week for nothing. I’d love to know if he actually writes anything anymore. In the list of his numerous works, only a one series seem to be his alone. The other’s all are co-written. I’m wondering if that is because the ‘co-author’ writes them but gets the support and name check of Mr P guaranteeing at least an audience and potential fans of future solo work. Mr P gets all sorts of benefits I guess. I may be wrong, he may write 98% of each book in each series / genre, if anyone knows how it all clicks let me know. (I’m currently in a tent in a rain storm so my internet search engine access is limited) [Update: see my ‘You may also like’ links below]
The only thing, I wish they hadn’t made the black woman a victim of domestic violence. Couldn’t we just once have a strong black woman as the lead?
Recommendation: Yes, ignore the tacky cover and dive in, it’s a great read. As Mr Patterson’s by line says…the pages turn themselves. This time I agree it deserved its place as the ‘Sunday Times No1 Best seller’
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