The Women’s War: A BookShot, by James Patterson and Shan Serafin

Eight stars

Patterson brings Shan Serafin into his coterie of BookShot authors and develops this highly entertaining and unique story. Heading a covert and well-trained group of Marines, Colonel Amanda Collins has a single target in mind, drug lord Diego Correra. Working throughout Mexico, but happy to send his product up into the United States, Correra has been a thorn in the side of many, particularly Col. Collins. When Collins takes her all-female team on a mission to scrub him out, they discover he remains a step ahead, having evacuated his compound moments before, but leaving a significant gift behind to mock Collins. Using her continued intel from the elusive ‘Fat Man’, Collins hopes to have another opportunity to catch this most vile of drug paddlers. Returning stateside, Collins arrives home to discover a personal tragedy, one that has her leave the Marines and settle in the small community of Archer, Texas. Two years thereafter, Collins is working off the books but still have some of her team together, Carrera still in their crosshairs. Fat Man continues to provide intel about Carrera shipments, but Collins continue to feel as though they are draining the ocean with a teaspoon, breaking laws to derail this single drug pipeline. After a threatening visit by the DEA, Collins remains determined to remove Carrera herself and organises a mission to Mexico to destroy all his factories. That mission has some glitches of its own, but Collins can chalk it up to at least partial success. Feeling slightly cocky, she lets down her guard and is taken into custody before being left stranded in the heart of Mexico City’s slums. With a bounty on her head and a burning need for revenge, Collins and her team wage one final “Women’s War”, giving all they’ve got. A great story that keeps the reader enthralled throughout, this is precisely what BookShots should be.

I have come to really enjoy the BookShot collection for a number of reasons. While it does allow Patterson to continue crafting ideas with some authors with whom he has worked effectively before, it is also a a showcase of new and exciting talent. These stories are also highly varied, which enables the reader to see that not all will be showstoppers; there is gold and garbage in equal measure. Serafin surely ups his game in writing this story, developing a collection of gun-toting women who have a mission and work effectively to plod through the narrative in order to find some measure of success. The characters suited this short story and the plot kept things moving without issue. While there was a slight dramatic corniness in the “freedom fighting, tragedy, and capture” equation, Patterson and Serafin work around this by keeping the reader focussed on catching Diego Carrera and trying to rid the world of one more drug runner. Easily read in a single sitting for those who are inclined, this BookShot has flecks of gold. Readers should keep an eye out for Serafin in future, either on his own or in future collaborative efforts.

Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Serafin for developing a great story. I am eager to see if this pairing is something that could work in future, or if this BookShot is the only stellar piece we will see.