Tuesday, August 3, 2010


As I walked into the books store by my house to pick out this weeks book, I noticed a table near the front with a variety of titles stacked on top. Becoming curious why those specific books were singled out, I walked over to have a look, and began to read the plot summaries. Having recently been thinking about reading another mystery book, Private, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, caught my attention.

Private is the first title in a new series for Patterson featuring ex CIA agent Jack Morgan, who now works as a private investigator. After rebuilding his Father's agency, appropriately named Private, it becomes a global company which is where people turn when they need ”maximum force and maximum discretion”. Jack is already deep into the investigation of a multi-million dollar NFL gambling scandal and the unsolved slayings of 18 schoolgirls, when he learns of a horrific murder close to home: his best friend's wife, and Jack's former lover, has been killed. It nearly pushes him over the edge, but instead, Jack pushes back and devotes all of Private's resources to tracking down her killer.

Although the idea of having three mysteries going on at once seems like it would be very entertaining and suspenseful, there was just too much happening. It seemed like a promising start as we were introduced to the characters and the different plots, however as the pages went by, I began to feel like I was deprived of great detail and character development. In my mind, those are possibly two of the most important things, especially when is comes to mystery novels. Personally, I like having enough information that I can try to solve the mystery myself before the solution is revealed, but I was not able to do that here because the information was so scattered.

I am discovering that I have a hard time remembering characters if they are not described to me by the author. I don't mean their looks, that image forms over time as you grow to know the, I mean how the think and feel, how they react to situations, and what their morals and values are. The characters in Private had the potential to be intriguing and enthralling people, bonded together with intricate and complicated histories and relationships, but unfortunately we were left just short of these details. I would have liked to know more about Jacks Father and how he came to start Private, why Jack went to war, and ow he came to know and work with his team at Private. Basically what I'm saying is the characters were not fully developed. It was almost like reading the first draft of a story, where we are given just the basics or the skeleton, before all the editing and rewriting, where more and more detail, development, and description is added each time.

I have heard many good things about Patterson's older work, so don't write him off completely. My tip for this book, is read some of Patterson's other novels, for they seem to be much more popular among the fans and critics alike. Patterson and Paetro’s volume launches the Private series in the United States, while thriller authors overseas will be writing their own versions of the series, with Private London by Mark Pearson, and others to follow in writing Private Rome, Private Australia, and Private Amsterdam. Hopefully these titles will be available here as well, so my second tip is to read some of these, for it is a great introduction to the work of the overseas writers with whom you may have only a passing or limited familiarity with.

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