Little Brown and co., 2010, 385 pages
The police can't help you....
Former Marine helicopter pilot 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 uses the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases.
The press will destroy you....
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, Jack's former lover, has been killed. It nearly pushes him over the edge. Instead, Jack pushes back and devotes all of Private's resources to tracking down her killer.
Only one place to turn: Private....
But Jack doesn't have to play by the rules. As he closes in on the killer and chooses between revenge and justice, Morgan has to navigate a workplace love affair that threatens to blow the roof off his plans. With a plot that moves at death-defying speeds, Private is James Patterson's sleekest, most exciting thriller ever.
James Patterson has a rep for churning out ghostwritten supermarket rack fodder. This my first sample of "his" work (Maxine Paetro is listed as the secondary author, so it's probably mostly her writing with Patterson's name on it). It didn't do much to disabuse me of the criticism, but I do see why he sells well to the folks looking for a quick read at the airport.
Jack Morgan runs a private investigation company of the sort thriller authors seem to like inventing, that has unlimited funds and resources even though we rarely see them doing anything for paying clients rich enough to fund such activities. In this book, which apparently introduces a series, Jack simultaneously deals with: (1) His evil twin brother who's in debt to the Mob; (2) A serial killers club that's hunting down schoolgirls; (3) An NFL betting scandal; (4) The murder of his best friend's wife and her secret life; (5) His inability to keep a relationship despite the fact that he's a rich, handsome former Marine helicopter pilot, because he's basically a square-jawed Man of Cardboard in the character department.
All of these plots, crammed together in bite-sized chapters, speed along aided by mobsters, hookers, defenestrations, quickie sex scenes, and Hollywood scenery. The plots are about as developed as the characters, suitable for an hour of prime time TV. I kind of laughed as the twin brother who's been a rival and pain in the ass for Jack all book gets set up in the last few pages to become the obvious Dark Jack with his very own international investigation firm to oppose Jack in future books.
Briefly entertaining and brainless.
My complete list of book reviews.