This isn’t the first James Patterson book I’ve read but it’s the first in the “Women’s Murder Club” series or with Maxine Paeto as co-author. (Those two have co-authored at least a dozen novels.) I’ve only read three James Patterson books prior to this one – one was with Bill Clinton, one was about 20 years ago and the last one was in 2015 or something.
The reason I picked The 19th Christmas is that I needed something easy on my brain and in the Christmas spirit since seasonal mysteries in their seasons is a tradition with me. I’ll do about 3 or 4 more this season – one or two a week?
The 19th Christmas
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
2019 / (263 pages in print)
Read by January LaVoy-7h 5m Rating – A / thriller
(Women’s Murder Club series #19)
It’s complex – lots of stuff happening and lots of characters. Ans it’s very fast paced. The series alao has an overarching plot or continuation of the lives of the protagonists so it’s probably a good idea to read them in order but I haven’t. The overarching plot development breaks the tension which is sometimes a good thing, it adds to the texture and gives the reader some breathing room.
Five different professional women are informal partners in crime- solving in the city of San Francisco. They are Lindsay Boxer, a detective with the city police force, Cindy Thomas, a journalist and Yuki Castellano, a prosecuting attorney. And all are married with children.
The bad guys: on a bustling city sidewalk right before Christmas, Lindsay’s shopping is interrupted by a young man shoving and running up the street leaving another shopper yelling “He’s got my bag.” When Lindsay’s partner, Rich Conklin, chase down and arrest the bad guy bringing him in for interrogation he reveals that there is going to be a huge robbery coming, perhaps at an art museum or gallery, and that starts the investigative action.
He tells them how he came across that information. This takes them to a run-down housing complex where a small family of very troubled undocumented immigrants is living. On their visit Lindsay accidentally kills a neighbor, a mid-level bad guy who seems to have his scoping eye on a local art museum or gallery.
Those are the two threads. Art gallery heist and the legal problems of undocumented migrants. Now the lights are out too – thanks to the scuffle which led to the shooting. The art gallery clue is the major plot line – there are layers of bad guys with one or two bosses.
Christmas gets to be an integral part of the setting because the detectives all want to get home to their families, but some are working even on Christmas Day. And there’s a countdown for the heist because the crime, which might involve dozens of people killed or injured, is planned for some time on Christmas. More tension.