BOOK REVIEW: The 17th Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

35212978Title: The 17th Suspect

Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book Length (Audiobook): 7 hours 4 mins

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Thrillers, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Crime


Brief Summary of the Plot: The 17th Suspect is the 17th installment in the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. You don’t really need to read the other books in order to understand what is happening in this 17th book (the author gives a brief summary of the events relevant for the book, if necessary); however, I always like to read the books in order, but that is just me. Honestly, I am debating reading the books over in order to give a real review on them.

Generally, though, the Woman’s Murder Club is a group of women who are friends and get together to solve crimes. Per the James Patterson official website, the cast of characters is as follows:

Detective Lindsay Boxer: “a homicide detective for the San Francisco Police Department. Lindsay is five foot ten. She was a sociology major and graduated from San Francisco State (to which she transferred from Berkeley when she found out that her mother had breast cancer). She loves beer and butterscotch praline ice cream. She has a border collie named Martha. She enjoys running, loves to read travel books and mysteries and her secret hobby is tai chi. Lindsay has been divorced once and is now married to long-time boyfriend Joseph Molinari. She has a younger sister named Cat and a father named Marty, who was also a member of the SFPD. Marty left Lindsay’s mother when Lindsay was 13.”

Cindy Thomas: “pretty, blonde and city cool. She’s a crime desk reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Cindy is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she was a sociology major. She loves yoga, jazz music and, like her friend Lindsay Boxer, loves to read travel books and mysteries—she’s even a member of a book club. She also has a tattoo, but unlike Lindsay, she has two small G-clefs on her shoulder.”

Claire Washburn, “Claire is black and heavyset; she always jokes, “I’m in shape… round’s a shape.” Claire is wise, confident, kind, and the Chief Medical Examiner for San Francisco. She is married to Edmund, a kettle drum-player in the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Claire and Edmund have two teenage sons and a young daughter named Ruby Rose. Her tattoo: an outline of a butterfly just below her waist. She also goes by the nickname “Butterfly” and has it embroidered on her lab coat at work.”

Yuki Castellano: “an ambitious, young San Francisco district attorney who is passionate, brilliant, given to speaking at 90 miles per hour, and sometimes wears a magenta red streak in her glossy, black, shoulder-length hair. Her parents met at a graduate school mixer for foreign students and married within three weeks. Her mother is Japanese and her father Italian American. Yuki’s favorite drink, when out with the other members of the Club, is a Germain-Robin sidecar.” Yuki joins the Women’s Murder Club in book #5. She replaces another lawyer, Jill Bernhardt who was killed.

As with the other books, this book takes place in San Francisco and has two main cases. In the first story, a man is going around the city shooting homeless people, and Boxer has to investigate the murders (this story is more focused on the police side). The second case is about a man who has accused his boss of rape, and Yuki is prosecuting the woman for rape. It is a controversial case because usually women are not accused of raping men (this story is more focused on the legal side and the other girls are not really involved). Cindy and Claire only make cameo appearances in this book, as both stories are more focused on Lindsay and Yuki.

My Review: As with most of the James Patterson books, the writing is nothing special. Patterson’s books are classic beach reads. Quick and entertaining for a day at the beach. I read this book during the winter while running, but it kept me entertained, so that’s something. The stories remind me of Law and Order Episodes, as there are usually two stories, one focused on “the law”, and the other on “the order”. My feelings overall are rather ambivalent. As with most beach reads, the book isn’t meant to stir up any emotions, it is just there to entertain you.

The Audiobook Recording: Nothing to report.

Expectations/Recommendations: Since I have read many of Patterson’s books before, I knew what to expect, and I was not disappointed. I have to say though that the Patterson and Paetro collaboration is one of my favorite collaborations from Patterson. If you are looking for a quick read, and aren’t expecting anything intellectual, this is the right book for you.


BOOK REVIEW: The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson


Title: The President is Missing

Author: Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Book Length (Audiobook): 13 hours 5 mins

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Thrillers, Fiction


Brief Summary of the Plot: US President John Lincoln Duncan has huge problems. When the book opens, he is rehearsing for an impeachment hearing (I guess Bill Clinton’s experience came in handy for these scenes). Duncan is being alleged both with negotiating with known terrorist Suliman Cindoruk, (the leader of a group called the Sons of Jihad), and then later calling off the assassination of Cindoruk. In addition to these personal troubles, the United States is facing an imminent threat from the Sons of Jihad, who plan to launch a devastating cyber attack (a.k.a. “Dark Ages”) against the United States.

Duncan becomes aware of this sinister plot against the United States when a woman with insider knowledge approaches Duncan’s daughter at school to deliver a message about Dark Ages. The message basically reveals that there is a mole in the White House (because no one outside of a few people knew of it). In an effort to save the day, the President doesn’t go “missing” as much as he goes incognito, disguising himself with the help of his deceased wife’s friend, who is conveniently a famous actress (doesn’t everyone have such a friend?). He isn’t missing because his secret service team figures out where he is going and follows him. Additionally, he remains in contact with various people in his cabinet.

As he remains in “undisclosed” locations, the cyber attacks on various locations begin, building up to the final event. Will President Duncan be able to foil the plot in time to save the country?

The Writing: As with most Patterson books, the writing has a “fun beach read” quality. I couldn’t really tell where Bill Clinton’s influence might have come in, except for the descriptions of the White House and some of the more political aspects. I felt it was written mostly by Patterson, but Bill Clinton was given a prominent by-line due to his famous status. It was clear that Bill Clinton wrote the last speech given by Duncan at the end of the book. Even though I have liberal leanings, the speech was a big turn off. Please don’t preach at me in my fiction book that I read for fun.

The Audiobook Recording: The Audiobook is read by several people, including Denis Quad (who plays the President). I find his impression of a Russian, Israeli and German to be flat-out hilarious. They do not even remotely sound correct (and I live in Austria and work with Austrians and Germans, so I know what I am talking about). The Israeli (woman) impression, sounds like a botched attempt at a Mel Brooks movie. Additionally, the classical music which was played during the assassin scenes was distracting, and often played over the words so it was actually hard to hear what was happening in the book.

Expectations: My expectations were met. Since I’ve read many Patterson books, I knew what to expect, and I knew what I was getting into.

Recommendation: Would I recommend this book? Sure, if you are looking for a book that is a fast, easy, and entertaining read. I usually read Patterson books on the beach, or on the plane. I read this book while running / walking, or doing chores around the house.