November/December 2016 Books of the Month: The Trial by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro and Gideon’s Gift by Karen Kingsbury

Nothing like wrapping up 2016 with two very unique and quite different books both under 200 pages but just as powerful and fun! The first, returning to the roots of mystery, suspense and thriller novels in reading a BookShot from THE LEGENDARY James Patterson; the other, a heartfelt story to celebrate Christmas and remember the power of a simple, kind gesture to change lives in the first book of Karen Kingsbury’s Red Gloves Collection.

Let the fun begin!!

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There is nothing wrong with reading outside of your genre or checking out books from the legends of the book world. You learn something new and, in a sense, revisit your roots. I was a big mystery and thriller fan growing up reading books by Mary Higgins Clark,  her daughter Carol Higgins Clark and The Boxcar Children series to name a few. But, I confess, I NEVER had a chance to read any books from James Patterson, even though I KNEW how famous he was, have heard of his numerous books and have been intrigued and impressed by his charitable endeavors for reading and books and his BookShots. I am also currently enrolled in his course on writing through Masterclass.

That’s where The Trial comes in, number 15.5 of Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series. Written with Maxine Paetro, Patterson gives us an intense, quick and wild story of a man named Kingfisher accused of killing two women in a nightclub called The Vault. After a fierce and crazy shootout with San Francisco Police and SWAT teams leaves two gunmen dead, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her partner, Rich Conklin (also crime reporter Cindy Thomas’s fiance), are on the case. Soon, Boxer and Conklin, the SFPD, The Women’s Murder Club and trial participants are sucked into a dangerous, violent and unpredictable tornado instigated by Kingfisher and his allies in the Mexican Cartel, Mala Sangre.

I am trying VERY hard not to spoil too much of the story as a whole because of the speed, the stakes on the line for the characters and the twists and turns that make time fly by fast as you just have to read one chapter after the other to find out what happens next!! The exclamation points emphasize the craziness of the story. Even though I haven’t gotten a chance to dive in and read The Women’s Murder Club as a whole, this was still an excellent read and quite a fun story. Plus, I loved characters like Kingfisher’s wife, Elena, who kept the twists and turns moving. I also enjoyed the story being from Lindsay Boxer’s point of view which helped me better understand her connection to Kingfisher and why putting this horrible man behind bars before he kills anyone else was so critical to her. I also found Boxer very likable and tough; VERY nice to see some strong female characters.

If you’re busy but want to devour a good book in under a few hours, give James Patterson’s BookShots a try. There are QUITE a selection to choose from, including The McCullagh Inn in Maine that is next on my to read list.

If you want to check out more books from James Patterson, click here!

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Like my October Book of the Month post focusing on a story for Halloween, the other book I read coincided with Christmas in December: Gideon’s Gift. This story is the first of four in the Red Glove Collection. Kingsbury talks about at the end of the book about A Red Gloves Project: “A Red Gloves Project is a way of giving something back during the Christmas season” (147). To me, that sums up this series, centering on bringing people together and give joy to one another during the Christmas season, with red gloves being the connector. A few years ago I also read the second book, Maggie’s Miracle, another heartwarming read, which I also recommend.

The first story, though, is about two characters struggling through hard times: Earl Badgett, a homeless man who lost everything five years prior to the start of the story including his faith in good things and family; and Gideon Mercer, an eight year old girl diagnosed with leukemia who dreams of the perfect Christmas, despite her family’s financial difficulties. It is upon meeting at a mission the Mercer family volunteers at and that Earl goes to frequently for a meal, that their lives begin to change. As Gideon says in the book, “Christmas miracles happen to those who believe.” Upon Gideon giving a gift to Earl, that quote is proven very true.

I admit, I didn’t like Earl at first because of his anger and taking his rage and pain out on Gideon early on, but once I got to the chapter where he tells mission director D.J. his story, my heart went out to him. If anything, my reaction showed me how easy it is to judge and quickly condemn someone without knowing the entire story for one’s actions and behavior. There was even a scene early on with another man on the streets trying to be friendly to three women that had fancy clothes and so on. Their response was to get closer together out of nervousness and put distance between themselves and the man.

This may sound familiar to those who have encountered the homeless or others on the street.

With the difficult year I’ve had, Gideon’s Gift was a story that certainly helped me warm my heart a little and remember the goodness around us. Another lovely Christmas story from the wonderful Karen Kingsbury! I hope you can check out the other books in this collection and a few other Christmas stories like The Bridge, and her latest, A Baxter Family Christmas.

Until 2017, Happy New Year to all writers and artists out there!



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