Friday, June 24, 2022

Book Review: 22 Seconds by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Women’s Murder Club #22)

Stars: 1 out of 5
Pros: Um…I read a library book
Cons: Sloppy story, political angle, flat characters, geography errors
The Bottom Line:
This is Lindsay’s show
Overly sloppy story
The book is just bad

A Disappointment - Needed Lots More Focus

Sometimes, I wonder why I keep reading the Women’s Murder Club novels.  I think it has to do with why people watch train wrecks.  I just have to see how bad the latest book in the series is.  Plus, the occasional good book comes along and surprises me.  Sadly, 22 Seconds was not one of them.

With the crackdown in cities all across the country on guns, things are tense, and San Francisco is no exception.  San Francisco Homicide Detective Lindsay Boxer is doing her part to collect the now illegal guns until she starts hearing rumors about a coming shipment of illegal guns and drugs coming into the state from Mexico.  Soon, she is working on this, hoping to stop it before the guns and drugs are disbursed throughout the entire country.  Can she stop it?

Where did this book go wrong?  Let me count the ways.

Okay, so maybe the fact that guns are so big in the news right now helped turn me off to this book right away.  I know that the timing isn’t the authors’ fault since they finished this book long before it came out.  However, I didn’t really want to read about second amendment issues since I grab a book to escape the news of the day.  And I was irritated that the second amendment supporters were caricatures of how liberals always portray conservatives.  Honestly, this book adds nothing to the discussion but just comes across as propaganda.

Then there’s my normal complaint with the Women’s Murder Club novels.  Yuki gets a glorified cameo.  Claire gets her own sub-plot, but it starts and ends rather quickly.  Honestly, it was more like a short story inserted early into the book.  She does get some nice scenes later in the book, but her presence was minimal.  Cindy’s story is at least tied into the main story.  But combined, these characters get less than a quarter of the book.

On the plus side, we do get to see more of Lindsay’s husband, Joe.  I like Joe, so that’s always a good thing.

Not that any of this matters because the characters are as two dimensional as always.  We haven’t gotten any real character development for any of them for a while now.  They are just props for the plot.

Given my irritation, I’m fully aware I might have been looking for nits to pick, but the more I think about the story, the more I realize just how flawed it was.  There are multiple prongs to this story, and I see what the writers were trying to do with the scope of it.  However, they failed miserably.  The connections they make at the end are random, and there isn’t enough time left to weave everything together into something that is a satisfying conclusion.

Worse yet, at least twice, the authors drop plot points.  Once, characters are in danger, and the next time we see them, they are home safe with nothing ever mentioned again.  We can guess what happened, but a reference to it in passing would be nice at a minimum.  Then there’s a plot point that happens later in the book that is never resolved.

It’s clear the authors aren’t familiar with San Francisco, but I don’t remember them being this clueless in the past.  Near the beginning, Lindsay is helping with the gun buy back program (a completely pointless scene, but that’s another issue), and she takes her shift in Daly City.  As anyone familiar with the area would know, this is outside of the San Francisco Police Department’s jurisdiction.  It’s a different city and a different county.  I could see them maybe possibly partnering up to help out, but that’s not mentioned.  Then, twice, they make some pretty major geography errors, having Lindsay drive north to get home from a location north of San Francisco.  I mean, it is possible, but it would take a long, long time.  Then, she leaves San Francisco and crosses the Golden Gate Bridge driving south.  Sorry, not happening.  These kinds of things irritated me, and in a book I already wasn’t enjoying, it just made things worse.

Several cases that we’ve followed in previous books come up again here.  You don’t need to have read the previous books to follow what happens in this book, but I did enjoy that aspect of things.

At least I got this book from the library, so I didn’t waste any more than reading time.

This book needed a serious editing if nothing else before it was released.  We’ll see how I’m feeling when the next book in the series comes out, but 22 Seconds may be my final visit with the Women’s Murder Club.

Here are the rest of the Women's Murder Club books.


  1. Yikes! I'll stay away from this series. Hope you next book is better.

  2. Your "Pro" had me laughing. I think I will definitely pass on this one!

  3. Well this just sounds so bad. I feel like James Patterson is just cranking out books with "famous" co-authors and they are bound to need some major copy editing that isn't happening.


Thanks for stopping by. In order to combat spam, I moderate most comments. I'll get to your comment as soon as I can.