Patterson (The Christmas Wedding, 2011, etc.) and Ellis (Breach of Trust, 2011, etc.) make the pages fly without creating a...

GUILTY WIVES

A girls-only weekend turns deadly for four friends who find that what happens in Monte Carlo definitely doesn’t stay in Monte Carlo.

Locked in an unspeakable French prison, Georgetown literature professor Abbie Elliot recalls the glamorous prologue to her murder conviction. Former U.S. Olympic skier Serena Schofield footed the bills for Abbie, British diva Winnie Brookes and South African beauty Bryah Gordon as they prepared for an unforgettable weekend of drinking, dishing and sexual adventures. Abbie doesn’t know that Devo, the man Winnie hooks up with, has actually been her lover for a year, or that he’s the President of France. Nor does she know that her husband Jeffrey, along with the husbands of Serena, Bryah and Winnie, is watching the four buddies as they sashay around Monte. When someone shoots Devo and the race car driver who turns out to be his bodyguard, the police arrest the four friends, but it’s clear that one of the four husbands (maybe more than one—they’re all so unappealing that it doesn’t much matter) has framed them for murder. There follows a trial during which Abbie keeps getting reminded that they’re not in an American courtroom, a prison stint marked by threats, bullying and worse (think Caged Heat), and a daring escape that leads to a high-fatality climax.

Patterson (The Christmas Wedding, 2011, etc.) and Ellis (Breach of Trust, 2011, etc.) make the pages fly without creating a single memorable character or asking you to take any of their variously glossy or gritty menace seriously.

Pub Date: March 26, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-09756-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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