I have always enjoyed James Patterson’s books. So, I was very excited to see another book, co-written with Maxine Paetro, called Private come into the library recently. I saw the book marketed just about everywhere—from the internet to the television and radio. There has been and continues to be a lot of hype for this book! And, the ‘buzz” about the book made it sound mysterious, high profile and kind of sexy. On Patterson’s website, I read the following intro for Private: “Former CIA agent Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe. It is where you go when you need maximum force and maximum discretion. The secrets of the most influential men and women on the planet come to Jack daily—and his staff of investigators use the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases.”
Since Private is a new book, I was able to check it out for two weeks. It has never taken me more than a few days to scream through a Patterson novel though so I wasn’t worried. I was looking forward to secrets, a sexy private investigator and a thoroughly good read. This book, as with all of Patterson’s books, was a fast read. The chapters were tight and short. As I read before bed one night, I kept thinking that the chapters were so short that I could just “read one more” before sleeping. Unfortunately, when I finished the book, I didn’t feel like Patterson and Paetro delivered what they were advertising!
The book, while filled with a few “secrets” was too easy to figure out—no hidden mysteries or complications for our hero, Jack Morgan. The main character seems to have difficult relationships with family and unbinding relationships with women. The reader learns that Jack really loves his friends and would do anything for them, but I would have liked more depth to his character. As a reader, I never warmed up to him.
The cases that the private agency took on left me a lukewarm, as well. There were basically three investigations that the agency took on during the course of this book. The first that we’re introduced to is the murder of a former girlfriend of Jack’s. The girlfriend recently married Jack’s best friend and the best friend is accused of the wife’s murder. The second investigation involves multi-million dollar NFL gambling ring which also involves Jack’s twin brother and an uncle. The third investigation is with the local police and involves finding the maniac who is killing young school girls—eighteen in all. All of these investigations are done by the agency pro-bono. The investigations were predictable, short on details and lackluster. I never got enough information to get excited.
The marketing for the book touts the fact that the agency is world-wide. This reader was expecting travels to these various locations with secrets, murder and mayhem happening all over the place. After all, the cover lists New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris as places where the agency has a presence. The book takes place in and near Los Angeles but Jack only takes phone calls from the other branches around the world. The reader really doesn’t learn too much about these other offices, or how or why Jack opened offices in these other cities.
Running through all the investigations are Jack’s issues with committal…he previously dated the recently murdered wife of his friend. Things didn’t work out. There is also another forensic psychologist on the staff of Private who Jack had a relationship with for many years. He couldn’t commit and she moved on to the district attorney on the case of the murdered school girls. Now, he’s dating his secretary but poor old Jack can’t warm up to her either. Frankly, Jack’s love life bored me as much as the investigations.
I’m not exactly sure what happened with this book and that has been bothering me since I finished it last week. Was it me? Was I expecting too much? Was it the writing? Was there not enough information? Did the authors try to “shove” too much into one book? Was there not enough depth? I’m still not sure.
All I am sure about is that I didn’t enjoy this book. It didn’t make me feel involved in the investigations or the characters as other Patterson books have made me feel. Instead, I felt like I really didn’t care. I felt like I was reading a script for a ‘made for television movie’ that I was watching just because there wasn’t anything else on the other channels. The only thing I can say for sure is that the chapters were short and I read the book in two evenings. It was not memorable. I may try another James Patterson book in the future—he has four more books being published between now and March of 2011—but I’m not sure that I will be waiting in great anticipation!