My Copy: 9780446574723 (image from bn.com)
I wondered if I’d find a James Patterson book that I didn’t like…and I finally have. To be fair and truthful, I couldn’t finish the book. I stopped at about page 105.
Private is about a former marine named Jack Morgan who’s had some bad crap go on in his life. He can’t seem to make it work with women, his brother’s a gambler and no-good, dad’s in prison, and he has PTSD and bad dreams like crazy while being threatened with death at least once a day over the phone. His dad, before his death, leaves his old private investigation business to his son and tells him to make something out of it. Being that his dad’s a crook and all, Jack Morgan is more than a little hesitant, but within a few years Private has gone international as a service.
While I don’t mind much in the way of creative license, and I appreciate a new twist in an old genre–the private eye being what it’s been through thousands of books and authors–this one I just couldn’t get into.
Most of the time I may enjoy a story but not really get into the characters. This time around, it’s more the opposite. The story and the setup just turned me off of reading more. There is so much going on, so many different cases that I felt I was digging into one of dad’s old Clive Cussler novels where it sets up all these disparate plot points that don’t seem to have anything to do with each other, but at the end, all will be revealed.
I couldn’t get past the first two chapters in those types of books. They ask too much of me and my suspension of disbelief.
Private sets up so many characters that it’s obvious he had the beginnings of a series in mind, but the threads that each character pursues make it hard to follow. One or two are pursuing a murder case of a dozen schoolgirls, another an issue with insider information, gambling, and the NFL, and more and more just keep on coming.
What really lost me is the description of Private and what they’re capable of. I mean, there’s suspension of disbelief and then there’s this. This investigation company feels like CSI and Law & Order had a love child.
Strike that–love quadruplets.
The “Private” firm is so sophisticated and complex that I’d love to know how chain of evidence works in this law enforcement fantasy world. It’s just too far fetched, and reminds me of why I stopped watching NCIS after a few years: when some characters are meant to seem all powerful, and like the rules don’t apply to them, then how are we really supposed to care what happens to them? If they can do no wrong, where does the conflict come in and make the characters more interesting, make them stronger and more relatable?
Just a few chapters in and I could feel that if this book resembles anything, it’s the perfect world’s version of a police department and crime lab, the one the TV already shows us in several different incarnations.
This is one series I’m glad I won’t be pursuing…I’ve got too many more books to read as it is. That said, Private‘s been a bestseller for a lot of reasons, and the series is still going strong.
Just not my cup of tea. But it very well could be yours.