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The 18th Abduction


The 18th Abduction

The Women’s Murder Club series from James Patterson and Maxine Paetro continues to impress well into its second decade. At a point where they could annually submit a reasonably crafted novel with minimal effort and still garner a respectable readership, the authors never fail to find ways to stretch themselves and readers’ expectations in new and unexpected directions. THE 18th ABDUCTION is a sterling example of this and is one of the best episodes in the canon thus far.

This latest installment features an enigmatic, present-day beginning before ducking five years into the past to present an unreported case involving the Women’s Murder Club and setting up another, the repercussions of which radiate forward. One thing that does not change from book to book in this series is the penchant of Patterson and Paetro to include at least two solid mysteries in each installment, and they do so in fine form once again here.

"Longtime readers of the Women’s Murder Club know what to expect with each installment, and this latest entry more than delivers on all counts."

One of the plot lines brings Joe Molinari --- the husband of Lindsay Boxer, a homicide detective for the San Francisco Police Department --- into the fore when he stops to assist a cyclist who has sustained some minor injuries in traffic. It turns out that Anna, who’s from Bosnia, had seen a man who she thought was Slobodan Petrović, a Serbian war criminal directly responsible for atrocities perpetrated on Bosnians in general and Anna and her family in particular. She can't believe that Petrović is living his life in San Francisco --- guilty as hell and free as a bird --- while she bears the physical and emotional scars of his actions. Joe can’t believe it either, but once he verifies that the man Anna saw is indeed Petrović, he begins investigating how such a thing could've happened and, more significantly, what can be done about it.

Meanwhile, Lindsay is under tremendous pressure to solve a case of her own. Three schoolteachers --- friends who were out for a night on the town --- have disappeared, seemingly without a trace. When the body of one of them is discovered, it develops that one or more of the teachers may have had a hidden life. Lindsay, though, is at a dead end in the case until investigative journalist Cindy Thomas, another member of the Women’s Murder Club, is able to provide her with a potential clue. San Francisco Medical Examiner Claire Washburn’s painstaking efforts on behalf of the victim uncovers a bit of crucial evidence that ultimately leads to the apprehension of the guilty party. However, it all may be for naught, with the outcome of both cases in doubt until almost the very last page of the book.

Longtime readers of the Women’s Murder Club know what to expect with each installment, and this latest entry more than delivers on all counts. As if two intriguing cases aren't enough, Patterson and Paetro also include the first few chapters from THE 19th CHRISTMAS, which may signal that fans of the series will not have to wait a full year to encounter Lindsay Boxer and her friends again. In the meantime, consider THE 18th ABDUCTION to be an early present.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on May 3, 2019

The 18th Abduction
by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 1538731592
  • ISBN-13: 9781538731598