The Trial (Women’s Murder Club #15.5): A BookShot, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Eight stars

Patterson and Paetro extend their partnership with another entry in the Women’s Murder Club collection, this time a BookShot. As the story begins, readers are taken into events not long after 15th Affair, with Sergeant Lindsay Boxer still at odds with her husband, Joe. When Boxer receives word of a shootout at a high-end bar, she and her partner rush to the scene. More interesting than the shooting is the suspect, a drug kingpin named Kingfisher everyone thought perished the year before. As Boxer seeks to track down Kingfisher, she learns more about him and discovers that his estranged wife is living in San Francisco as well. After arresting Kingfisher and identifying him as being the man some witnesses saw killing two women in their twenties, Boxer chooses to remove his cloak of power and personalises him with his given name, Jorge Sierra. While Sierra awaits trial, he does not back down in his off-the-wall fury, promising to kill anyone who tries to convict him. As the threats mount, so does the body count and the gang Sierra ran seems to have arrived from Mexico to do his bidding. Boxer flees the city with her daughter, Julie, and keeps the little one in protective custody, promising to bring justice and peace to San Francisco with Sierra’s conviction. The trial proceeds and the evidence is strong, but one can never predict things in the justice system until the jury’s verdict is handed down. Boxer knows all too well that sometimes good does not triumph over evil and that bloodshed is inevitable. Perhaps the best BookShot of those released to date, Patterson and Paetro deliver for fans of the series and curious readers alike. 

The idea of BookShots has been a mixed bag up to this point. Patterson nails it with some co-authors and shows a flaccid lack of ingenuity with others. Paetro’s contribution, backed by one of the stronger series Patterson has on the go, makes this book a wonderful addition to both the Women’s Murder Club and the BookShots concept. While the three other Club members play a backseat role, Lindsay Boxer is front and centre in such a way that I could not help seeing her dashing and dodging as she has in the 15 previous novels. The story is quick, the chapters even faster, and the narrative keeps the reader wondering how the legal and police aspects will meld. The tie-in to the previous full-length novel goes to show that both authors care enough to keep series fans in line, but it is the next novel that might also prove interesting, as some of the breadcrumbs offered herein will certainly shape what happens in the 16th incantation of the Club. And now we wait to see how it all plays out until late next Spring.

Kudos, Mr. Patterson and Madam Paetro for this wonderful piece. I was hooked with the opening paragraph and am happy to keep reading anything you guys have to offer.