An eclectic group of successful female friends embark on what is supposed to be an exotic, once-in-a-lifetime Monte Carlo vacation only to find themselves in prison, labeled as terrorists and on trial for murder. This enticing scenario is the foundation for Guilty Wives, the latest page-turning thriller from James Patterson.
A group of women who are in need of a break from the pressures of everyday life arrive at an extravagant Monte Carlo location and almost immediately find themselves befriending some men; one of the women, Abbie, lands in a tryst with a well-known movie star. The next morning, instead of reminiscing about the debaucheries of the preceding night, the women stand accused of killing two men—one of whom just happens to be the president of France.
The identity of the victim makes their arrest and the subsequent trial the center of intense media scrutiny. The book takes two tracks, detailing the conditions at the prison and the way in which the women accused of killing the French president are treated and the sensationalized trial of the beautiful and privileged Americans who are believed to have assassinated a beloved foreign leader. Each of the women can withstand different amounts of pressure and abuse, but Abbie seems to overcome any obstacle—and fends off even the most horrific attacks—as she studies the inner workings of the prison in an attempt to prove her innocence and discover what really happened on that monumental evening that changed all of their lives forever.
Critics who continue to read these novels looking for Patterson to deviate from the formulaic storytelling with which he has achieved such successes will be disappointed, since this book is merely an extension of his prior works. The legions of loyal Patterson fans, however, who return to his novels for the unraveling of complicated plots and the delivery of writing that provides a consistent entertainment value will likely be pleased with this novel, since that’s exactly what it delivers.