Publication Date: March 26, 2012
In Guilty Wives by James Patterson and David Ellis, four married women, who are unhappy in their marriages, take a girl’s weekend trip to Monaco. The women experience self-indulgence beyond their dreams and do things they’d never imagined themselves doing. In the harsh light of morning, Abbie, Serena, Winnie and Bryah find themselves arrested and accused of the murder of the President of France and another man. Will they survive?
My 65-year-old father loves James Patterson’s books. Patterson and his beloved Lisa Scottoline are the only authors for whom he’ll pay hardcover prices. I’ve read a few of the Alex Cross books and didn’t enjoy them enough to continue with the series. In reflection, I think the short chapters (which my dad loves) just stopped the flow of the storyline for me. My Dad encouraged me to try another book by Patterson and suggested that I give this one a shot.
Sorry, Dad, this novel did not make me a Patterson fan.
Much of Guilty Wives is narrated in first person form by Abbie Nelson. Abbie is an ordinary diplomat’s wife who isn’t happy in her marriage. In the occasional moments when we bounce to third person P.O.V. to follow the husbands or the other women, the switch feels awkward, as though someone plugged those narratives in after the fact thinking so that we should know what’s going on in aspects of the storyline that Abbie can’t see. I believe most of these switches in perspective could have easily been cut to make a shorter book with better flow.
A better flow of Guilty Wives would not have added to my enjoyment of this book. I had the feeling that I had read this book before, and it wasn’t until perusing the book reviews on Amazon that I realized the reason. Ali Mar, an Amazon reviewer, points out that the book reminds her of a Sidney Sheldon novel. It’s been many years since I last read a Sidney Sheldon novel, but for me, this reviewer was spot on. The storyline was extremely predictable, the women were whiny and the plotline dragged on much longer than it could hold my interest.
One of my big issues is that the first chapter is basically a recap of what happens in the book to a point. Where’s the suspense? Am I supposed to care about umpteen chapters of trial when in the first chapter we know the outcome of the trial? The storyline was made more tedious with wondering when we would get back to where we started. Many of the chapters could have easily been cut, and the storyline of this book retained.
Most of the characters were rather flat. There were a lot of people coming and going that you just didn’t really need to get to know. The actor that Abbie has sex with, he’s clearly supposed to be a George Clooney type and the way he’s written seems to rely on the reader realizing that and picturing George Clooney in place of actual character development. I don’t necessarily disagree with this. Do we need to get to know the man who opens Abbie’s eyes to the world in a night of unguarded passion (*eye roll*)? Not really. The French police were mindfully brutal, the abusing husband, a douchebag. We know these characters, and there’s not a new spin. I would have liked to see something unique about these people.
That having been said, those we do know are annoying. Abbie is fairly typical as far as female characters go. She’s not likable and a heartless beast that I am, I never felt sorry for her.
Normally, I’d list something I liked about the read so here goes … I liked that my dad enjoyed it. I bought him this novel and another new Patterson release as an early Father’s Day gift, and he was thrilled (a thank you to the creator of the Kindle!). I am clearly in the minority when it comes to Patterson as he’s a New York Times bestselling author. My Dad found Guilty Wives to be fast-paced and the characters interesting. He didn’t mind knowing what happened at the start. His heart did bleed for Abbie and the other women. He found the sex stuff a bit too much. If you like the Desperate Housewives kind of shows, you might like this read. It does have a similar dramatic flavor though the show is done much better.
Patterson’s next novel, I, Michael Bennett, will be released on July 9. 2012 though he has several works coming out before the end of the year.
Read an excerpt and buy Guilty Wives by James Patterson and David Ellis on