15th Affair (Women’s Murder Club #15), by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Eight stars

Patterson and Paetro offer up a wonderful story in this 15th instalment of the Women’s Murder Club series, showing the true vulnerabilities of protagonist, Lindsay Boxer. While finally enjoying a life of bliss at home, Boxer is soon rattled when she attends a crime scene of a man slain in bed and an elusive blond slinking into the room minutes before the crime. Upon further digging, she learns that the woman is one Alison Muller, a name which means nothing to her at the time. However, surveillance also catches Boxer’s husband, Joe, on the scene, for no particular reason. When a flight arriving from China explodes on approach to San Francisco’s airport, one passenger in particular act as a red flag for Boxer, tied in nicely to her hotel murder scene. Scrambling to make sense of it all, Joe disappears and will not communicate with her. Soon there is a strong tie between Joe and the mysterious Muller, as well as a long history between them. As the story progresses, Boxer learns more about Joe than she ever knew, putting her trust in him and their family unit in jeopardy. With a terrorist plot at the centre of the case at hand, Boxer must use all her resources while trying to keep calm as her life comes crashing down around her. Who is Alison Muller and can she be the key to solving both the professional and personal mysteries hanging over Boxer’s head? Wonderful addition for series fans with just enough suspense to keep the reader guessing.

This story shows that James Patterson has not lost his lustre, though one might posit it is Paetro that acts as the literary glue in this book. I have long struggled with subpar writing by the formidable writer, though he seems to have come back to his writing of old. The characters continue their forward progression with respective backstories as they play the needed roles in this storyline as well. The short chapters invite reading just a little more while continuing to push things in a forward momentum and allows the reader to devour large portions in a single sitting. Patterson and Paetro do well to inject some drama and a little uncertainty into the story, keeping Lindsay Boxer from getting too comfortable in her life and allowing readers to revel in what will happen next. Alas, it will be a year until the next full-fledged novel, but speculation never hurt anyone.

Kudos, Mr. Patterson and Madam Paetro for this refreshing novel in the series. You have a great handle on things and I hope to see more progress amongst Women’s Murder Club characters.