I’ve never read any James Patterson books, but I see them everywhere, from the bargain bookstores to the promotional displays of latest releases. I’m not so much into genre writers, but in the past couple of years I’ve learned to try all sorts of reading material, even those I don’t normally read, just to keep it interesting.

I got a promotional reading copy of James Patterson’s Private, and I felt I was due for a break after reading the mind-boggling Left Hand of Darkness for the June book discussion, so I immediately latched on to a light read.

Private (co-written with Maxine Paetro; I wonder how they divided the work!) is a crime thriller involving the renowned private investigation firm Private, Inc., owned and headed by beefcake (at least in my mind) detective Jack Morgan.

Private, Inc. is some sort of agency for the rich and famous — all their cases are high profile: multimillion scandals, celebrity investigations, and the who’s who of domestic crimes. Equipped with the most advanced forensic tools and a team of the sharpest minds in investigation (read: composed of a femme fatale, a burly ex-con, a 50 year old hacker, a tech-geek, a doormat assistant slash girlfriend… you get the picture!), Jack Morgan has built a reputation for himself  and Private, Inc. around the globe.

It’s the first book in the Private Series and Jack Morgan already has a lot on his hands: a high-stakes NDFL gambling scandal, serial killings of young schoolgirls (2666 much?), and the murder of his best friend’s wife (also his former lover!). On top of that, Jack is also suffering from survivor’s guilt over having survived an explosion in his service as a fighter pilot in Afghanistan (cough) and not being able to save his friends; and he also has to contend with a raucous twin brother set on making his life more difficult.

Yes, it’s all too good to be true, but for these types of books, I should think that’s already a given. It won’t win prizes for literary merit or even common logic, but it does make up for it with lots of gangster confrontations, a smooth-talking PI (who runs through several leading ladies throughout the course of the novel), and high  levels of testosterone in 104 three-page chapters  that you can breeze through in a single sitting.

Still not my kind of book, but it was worth a shot.

I’m curious though, on how he’s written his ya novel Witch and Wizard. It’s a dystopian novel involving magic, which I find really interesting.  I’ve been seeing it since Christmas and it’s been on my wishlist ever since, but the reviews aren’t so hot so I haven’t bought it yet. Oh well. Maybe on BookMooch.


Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, trade paperback, 2/5 stars

Book #76 for 2010

Review copy courtesy of Fully Booked/ Hachette Book group


5 thoughts on “Private”

  1. I’m not a James Patterson fan either, though my best friend loves stuff like that – Crichton, Grisham, those genre thrillers. (I’ve lent her the John Dunning Bookman series).

    Started reading Witch and Wizard at Fully Booked one day when my son refused to leave the children’s section, and I wouldn’t buy it. I’d probably borrow, but not even mooch it. It was the type of book I put back on the shelf after the first chapter.

  2. I’ve actually read Booked to Die and enjoyed it for the bookish parts :D

    Thanks for the heads up on W&W, will probably just wait for it on BookMooch.

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