Saturday, August 14, 2010

Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

There is a lot going on in Private, the collaboration between James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. In the novel, Jack Morgan has just received fifteen million dollars from his loser-father who is in prison. His father wants him to re-establish their private investigation firm. Five years later, Jack has more clients than he can shake a stick at.

His best friend’s wife has just been murdered. Shelby Cushman was Jack’s former lover, before he introduced her to his pal, Andy.

Jack’s uncle, who has part ownership of a team in the NFL, hires him to investigate accusations of a gambling and bribery scandal that could ruin the sport.

During all of this, Los Angeles is a hunting ground for a serial killer preying on school girls. His modus operandi is different with each victim, making it difficult for the profilers to get a fix on him.

Jack’s twin brother Tom is a chip off the ol’ block. Unfortunately. Jack discovers that his brother owes the mob $600,000, but there is so much animosity between the siblings they make Cain and Abel look like the Olsen twins.

Then as a filler, it seems, two high-profile celebrity couples come to him wanting to switch partners. Legally.

With all of this going on, it would appear difficult for Jack to have a social life but he does manage one. However he screws it up.

And his isn’t the only one to hit the skids during the short time span in the novel.

With keeping up on all the plot lines, Patterson and Paetro throw another curve at the reader. The narration switches from first person told from Jack’s point of view to third person. It’s difficult to see what the advantage is to this since it doesn’t add to anything to the story except perhaps to write a death scene from the viewpoint of a person dying, in this case, Jack. He expired briefly in the prologue after a helicopter explodes during his tour in Afghanistan. This incident causes nightmares, interrupting Jack’s sleep. Another aspect to an already crowded novel.

With numerous stories occurring at once, a few of them are dispatched without much suspense or action. The celebrity couples appear in only two chapters, so why include them? They didn’t add anything either. The NFL scandal which makes the blurb on the inside flap is relegated to a subplot.

Despite the dizzying pace and the constant switching of viewpoint or plot from page to page, Private is a good story that will keep your interest, especially if you have a short attention span.

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