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Guilty Wives

by James Patterson and David Ellis

genre: thriller

This is the book that inspired my post, “Now Rewind” Plots: Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em. It opens in the middle of the drama, then skips back several months to the beginning of the story, which is actually my one complaint about the novel, particularly because it’s a thriller. Some people on Goodreads labeled it a mystery, but what’s the mystery when you’re told what happens right at the beginning?

Synopsis from Goodreads

Guilty Wives by James PattersonOnly 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.

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.


Guilty Wives opens with Abbie and one of the other wives in prison for murder. Right off the bat, we know the outcome of the trial, that someone in prison wants Abbie dead, and that one of the other wives is murdered while imprisoned. Within the first couple of chapters, we know who the real killer is. Not much suspense when you’re given everything up front. It was around chapter 76 before we hit a point in the story where I didn’t know everything.

While it would have been a much better story had it started at the beginning and not given so much away, I still enjoyed the story. I listened to it as an audio book for a long car trip and it kept me entertained the whole way. Entertained, amused, interested, but not hanging on the edge of my seat or invested in the story. By the time the story caught up to what was already revealed, it was too late to develop that love and vested interest in Abbie or the other wives. That ship had sailed. However, Guilty Wives was not without it’s surprises. Even in the earlier chapters, there were some eyebrow raising twists I was not expecting. I just wish I could have been led through the story in a natural progression, fallen in love with the characters, had my gut wrench at their misfortune, and had the rug ripped out from under me when one of them died.

I liked it, but some of the stylistic choices have made this a 3 star read for me.

You might like this book if…

  • You like novels written in first person omniscient.
  • You enjoy novels that go through the character’s daily activities.

You might not like this book if…

  • You prefer suspense or limited POV writing styles

-Eliabeth Hawthorne

Have you read this novel? Leave us a comment with your thoughts or check out our other book reviews.