Monday, October 15, 2012

Guilty Wives by James Patterson and David Ellis

 Audio book Read by January LaVoy

          The next time I get irritated with my husband, I'll try to remember the husbands in this book. They'd make any ordinary jerk look like a prince.

          Four women decide to have a girls’ weekend in Monte Carlo. Right away you know these are not ordinary housewives. They are the wives of rich and powerful men. While partying at th
e casino, they meet a group of men and decide to make it a more private party on one guy’s yacht. Adulterous sex ensues, and in various states of inebriated exhaustion, everyone on the yacht sleeps.

          They are rudely awakened by a SWAT team early the next morning, and are marched off to police headquarters where they are interrogated as terrorists. Each of the women is shocked and horrified to discover that two of the men they had been with had been murdered in the early morning hours. They are even more shocked to find that the four of them are the prime suspects.

          After being vilely treated by the police and an alleged confession coerced out of one of the wives, they are all arrested and charged with the murders, either as perpetrators or accessories. They are sent to prison in France to await trial.

          Months later, they go to court. As witnesses are called, it becomes apparent that someone is actively working against them. Repeatedly, the women listen as people who could exonerate them perjure themselves in court. It quickly becomes apparent that the wives are going to be convicted and spend the rest of their lives in a French prison for something they didn’t do.

          They are pressured to confess, and are offered vastly lighter sentences if all four of them do. But one of them refuses. She will not confess to a crime she did not commit and knows her friends did not commit either. She knows they are all innocent of murder and is determined to prove it. But, all four go to prison, never to see their homes or families again.
The holdout bides her time, learning to tolerate the nasty conditions in the prison. She refuses to break down, even under torture, refusing to confess to the murders she and her friends have been convicted of. And, she eventually escapes from prison and finds the proof she needs to exonerate herself and her fellow wives.

          During the entire ordeal, the husbands are distant, unhelpful and actively working to procure the confessions the French police so desperately want. They may believe their wives deserve to be punished for their infidelity, but to allow them to be sent to a foreign prison for life seems a little extreme to me.

          This was a fast-paced thriller with lots of interesting twists. It is a very typical James Patterson offering. This won’t go down in history as the great American novel, by any stretch of the imagination, but was a pretty entertaining read.

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