July 27, 2013

Book review: Private Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

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Private, the world's most renowned investigation firm, has been commissioned to provide security for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Its agents are the smartest, fastest, and most technologically advanced in the world, and 400 of them have been transferred to London to protect more than 10,000 competitors who represent more than 200 countries.

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The opening ceremony is hours away when Private investigator and single father of twins, Peter Knight, is called to the scene of a ruthless murder. A high-ranking member of the games' organizing committee has been killed. It's clear to Peter that this wasn't a crime of passion, but one of precise calculation and execution.

Newspaper reporter Karen Pope receives a letter from a person who calls himself Cronus claiming responsibility for the murders. He promises to restore the Olympics to their ancient glory and to destroy all those who have corrupted the games with lies, corruption, and greed. Immediately, Karen hires Private to examine the letter, and she and Peter uncover a criminal genius who won't stop until he's completely destroyed the modern games.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

Private Games is a thriller about a terrorist who threatens the 2012 Olympic Games is London. It's the fourth James Patterson book I've read, having now read an Alex Cross book, one from the Women's Murder Club series, and Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. As with the other three James Patterson book, I found this one to be just so-so.

As a fan of thrillers, I thought that the story had potential. It moved at a pretty good pace, and the topic was one that interested me. The biggest problem I had with Private Games was that I didn't care about any of the characters, a problem I have with other Patterson novels. Despite everything that was happening to Peter Knight and his family, friends, and colleagues, it didn't bother me when any of them were in danger. Except for one, I didn't feel much sympathy for any of Cronus's victims. The authors didn't spend enough time letting the readers know the characters and build up an investment in them.

A less annoying problem with this book was that it tried to portray an accurate picture of the Olympics only some of the time. Since the book was written before the games took place, I didn't expect it to predict what would happen during the Olympics. However, to include high profile events like the men's 100 meter sprint in the novel without giving any mention to the international leaders in the sport (hasn't James Patterson heard of Usain Bolt??) seemed like a shame. It made the story even more unbelievable than it was.

If you're a fan of James Patterson, you will probably like Private Games, but if you're just looking for a good thriller, there are better choices out there.

I read this book as part of the Authors A to Z reading challenge. Next up: The 500 by Matthew Quirk.

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