Title: The 19th Christmas
Author: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: 7 October 2019
Print Length: 368 pages
Genre: #Fiction #MurderThrillers #SuspenseThrillers #WomenSleuths
There is an old saying, never judge a book by its cover and this one rang true for us
As you can see the front cover is a wooded snow scene with a woman who is wearing a red coat and who is hurriedly walking through the woods. Is someone after her? Where is she going? Who is this woman? What does the title, The 19th Christmas mean? A note on the front of the book reads, “The New Women’s Murder Club Novel" so we suspected it was a murder mystery solved by women.
Note, we had not heard of nor read any other Women’s Murder Club novels. So had no idea what to expect.
One of the blurbs on the back cover is written by Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of the D. D. Warren series. We have not read any of the D. D. Warren series, but what Garden wrote caught our attention. “Everything you love about Patterson and the Women’s Murder Club – smart characters, shocking twists, and a villain so evil you count down to the very last page to discover what will happen next.”
Entertainment Weekly’s blurb reads, “Everyone knows a good Murder Club needs strong, engaging women, lots of supportive sharing, several bottles of pinot grigio, and a really insane, unstoppable, gruesome serial killer.”
These two blurbs along with the others clinched our decision to buy the book, even though we cringed at the price tag.
We had high expectations before we read this book.
The beginning of the book introduces the reader to four women. (1) Detective Lindsay Boxer and her husband, Joe. (2) Yuki Castellano, a lawyer and her husband Jackson Brady. (3) Cindy Thomas, a journalist, and her boyfriend, Rick Conklin. (4) Claire Washburn, San Francisco’s chief medical examiner and her husband Edmund.
As the story unfolded a reader begins to see two distinct stories and we began wondering how the case Yuki and Cindy were working on would tie in with the case that Boxer was working on and was wondering what role would Claire eventually play.
The title through us for a loop. The 19th Christmas. We kept reading in hopes to find that the number 19 had a significance such as the 19th unsolved murder right before Christmas or something similar. NOPE!
The number 19 in the title means the 19th novel in the Women’s Murder Club series. Christmas, well, the story just happened to take place around the Christmas holiday.
As we read, we kept thinking about Gardner’s blurb, “…count down to the very last page to discover what will happen next.”
We were looking forward to what happened next. We were waiting and reading to see how all four women would come together to solve this case. We were greatly disappointed!
It would have been better for us, the reader, to learn up front this was Lindsay Boxer’s story. The case that Cindy and Yuki were working on was a totally separate story and could have made another book. Therefore, we felt the novel was disjointed.
Claire became someone the authors had to introduce at the beginning of the story to remind the readers, who have read some or all of the other 18 books, who she was. And to introduce her to readers, like us, who have never read a Women’s Murder Club novel. But honestly, we would not have missed her if she was not mentioned. Personally, we think the authors could have found a better way to introduce Claire in the backstory instead of tossing her in as afterthought at the beginning and end of the book.
Will we read another James Patterson and Maxine Paetro Women’s Murder Club novel? Let’s just say that right now none are high on our priority reading list.
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Note- not every book is someone's cup of tea and this book is not for us. If you enjoyed the book, bravo and continue reading the series.