Guilty Wives by James Patterson and David Ellis

August 16, 2012

Plot summary (from the publisher): No husbands allowed

Only minutes after Abbie Elliot and her three best friends step off of a private helicopter, they enter the most luxurious, sumptuous, sensually pampering hotel they have ever been to. Their lavish presidential suite overlooks Monte Carlo, and they surrender: to the sun and pool, to the sashimi and sake, to the Bruno Paillard champagne. For four days they’re free to live someone else’s life. As the weekend moves into pulsating discos, high-stakes casinos, and beyond, Abbie is transported to the greatest pleasure and release she has ever known.

What happened last night?

In the morning’s harsh light, Abbie awakens on a yacht, surrounded by police. Something awful has happened–something impossible, unthinkable. Abbie, Winnie, Serena, and Bryah are arrested and accused of the foulest crime imaginable. And now the vacation of a lifetime becomes the fight of a lifetime–for survival. GUILTY WIVES is the ultimate indulgence, the kind of nonstop joy-ride of excess, friendship, betrayal, and danger that only James Patterson can create.

Warning: Major spoilers below!

Liked:

  • The descriptions of the luxurious amenities in Monte Carlo were enjoyable. I think most women would love to get away with their best friends for a long weekend like that.
  • I liked the twist about Damon’s movie financing coming from Simon in exchange for keeping quiet about Abbie. I didn’t see that coming, but it made perfect sense within the plot.
  • I also liked that Damon’s secret (about slipping out of movie premieres to watch Rocky IV, which was his first big break) came into play at the end. I’d forgotten all about the secret by then, but fortunately Abbie hadn’t.

Disliked:

  • I didn’t like how the focus shifted entirely to Abbie once the women were sent to prison. The other characters were interesting as well, and though it made sense that they would be sent to separate cell blocks so as to eliminate contact, I feel the Second Act would have been much, MUCH more interesting if the women were allowed to interact and plot together.
  • So what did the authors choose to fill the Second Act with? Endless scenes of Abbie being tortured and humiliated by the prison guards. Yes, I’m sure that happens in real life. But page after page after DULL-ASS page describing the things Lucy and Sabine made her put up with was just too much.
  • I thought it was absolutely idiotic to make one of the victims of the crime the president of France. I mean, come on! This was Winnie’s affair? Yeah, right.
  • How convenient that the men managed to secure all that incriminating “evidence” against the women. I was waiting for them to trot out Winnie’s laptop with recent life insurance policy searches on http://equote.com to make it even more of a slam dunk for the prosecutors.
  • I disliked Abbie as a character and found her to be completely unbelievable. She was a pampered housewife before going to prison and should have been soft as hell. But she managed to put up with all the inhumane torture and orchestrate a somewhat elaborate breakout despite the fact that the guards were trying to kill her??? Whatever.
  • The reveal at the end that ALL the husbands were involved in the plot was simply ludicrous. You mean to tell me that some jealous billionaire husband who finds out that his wife is cheating on him wouldn’t just divorce her and pay her a measly million bucks as stipulated in the pre-nup? Instead he ropes the husbands of her best friends into helping him kill two men and then frame all the wives for murder??? Wow, talk about the punishment not fitting the crime.
  • The fact that Abbie asked for leniency for Jeffrey at the end was vomit-inducing. Her reasoning was that she wanted her children to be able to repair their relationship with their father in the future if at all possible. But why???? Why would she want her kids anywhere near a man that could be involved in a murder and frame-up conspiracy that implicated her???!!!
  • I could not STAND it when the authors had Abbie constantly refer to the yacht owner as the “fat American.” Not only was that a horrible stereotype, but it made little sense that Abbie, who was American herself, would identify someone else that way. If he was Greek or Polish or French, some other ethnicity, I could see her using that kind of shorthand. But why would she refer to her own countryman as an American? Who does that??? Wouldn’t she just say “that fat guy” or something?

Rating:

Even though I pretty much already know what to expect out of James Patterson & (co-author) books, I somehow can’t stay away from them. Despite setting the bar low with Guilty Wives, I was still annoyed by a number of character traits, plot points, and other key elements of the story. I give this one 2 stars out of 5.

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