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Private    by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro order for
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Private, the latest series start by the prolific James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (who also teams with Patterson in the popular Women's Murder Club thrillers) is slick and suspenseful in the usual well-received Patterson style (succinct and simple chapters, larger than life characters, and a plethora of surprises).

The star of the novel, and the head honcho of the multinational Private investigative organization is former Marine Jack Morgan. As the story begins, he's personally involved in three major cases - his company is helping the police track a serial killer of schoolgirls (whose modus operandi keeps changing; his best friend Andy begs for Jack's help to solve his wife Shelley's murder (Jack had a prior relationship with Shelley and was best man at their wedding); and his Uncle Fred (a general partner of the Oakland Raiders) asks him to investigate fraud that 'could cripple the game of professional football.'

On top of all this Jack has serious personal problems. His lover (and assistant at Private) Colleen Molloy wants more from the relationship than he does. He still has feelings for his ex lover (and chief investigator), profiler Justine Smith, while she's in a relationship with ambitious District Attorney Bobby Petino. He's harassed daily by a caller who tells him, 'You're dead'. He has nightmares about the time he died briefly in Afghanistan and can't remember what happened. And his dark twin Tommy (who has competed with Jack all his life) has huge gambling debts to the Mob.

Of course, Jack wraps up all three cases - with lots of help from Justine, and a little from the wrong side of the law - in record time, but not without big surprises. I look forward to reading more of Jack Morgan and Private, and to the source of his nightmares gradually unfolding.

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