Private: Private, Book 1

Private: Private, Book 1




We have a saying in South Dakota that relates to the weather. “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change.” That same saying can apply to the first book in the ‘Private’ series. If you don’t like a particular case, don’t worry because a new one will be along in a few 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.
©2010 James Patterson (P)2010 Hachette


Jack Morgan is a busy man. As the head of Private, one of the world’s top investigative agencies, the man has a lot going on. Toss in conflicts with his brother, a girlfriend that doesn’t get his attention as much as she’d like, a romantic history with a current co-worker, haunting memories of his military past, and you get one very busy person.
Jack Morgan is the star of Private but it is actually the agency that is at the center of the novel. Private, the agency itself, has a personality of its own, a personality that is molded by the people who work there. A typical Private employee is very self confident, perhaps a little cocky and has a more sarcastic sense of humor.
The book deals with several cases from a series of murders to a sports gambling scandal. I like the idea but the execution could have been better. Some of these cases just don’t feel as big as they should given the subject matter.
The standout case in terms of climax is actually the case of the murder of some high school age girls. This is the strongest plot because it is the hardest of the cases for Private to crack and has the biggest scenes. Some of the other cases have their moments of tension, especially when the guilty parties are confronted, but figuring out who those guilty parties are in the first place feels a bit too easy. Ending each case at a different point of the book feels a bit like bowling – you knock down a set and it isn’t long before you’re getting ready to knock down the next set.
If I could point to one aspect of ‘Private’ that gives me hope for the series going forward, I would say it’s the characters. Patterson plants the seeds for some interesting character interactions and storylines down the road. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Jack and his brother Tom and look forward to seeing how that plays out in the future. In some ways, I think figuring out your characters is more important than plotting out story progression. A good story idea can be killed by characters you don’t care about, but well developed characters can make it easier to slog through an underwhelming story.


This is a very different type of James Patterson novel in comparison to anything else I have read. The cast of characters is bigger and there are several different crime activities going on at one time. Like I said in the introduction, if you don’t like one subplot, you don’t have to wait long for another to come along.
Even if I found some things lacking in this debut novel, there is still plenty that I like going forward. The importance of the agency itself allows for a lot of cool locations to visit and for a wider cast of characters who can carry the load for a book or two.


When I first started doing preliminary research on the narrator, I learned that Peter Hermann is married to Law and Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay. After listening to his performance, that is still probably the thing I will remember most.
There’s nothing wrong with his performance. He hits all of the right emotional tones, tosses in a few accents when appropriate and ramps up the intensity level when it is called for. But I would have to call his performance solid, not spectacular.
There just isn’t anything that stands out about Hermann’s performance after the fact. However, I am willing to concede that a lot of that is probably more a result of the story than any failings in the acting.


This is a fairly standard track for Hachette Audio and James Patterson novels. There are some music cues sprinkled throughout the book and the audio chapters match up with the book chapters. No other sound effects are used.


I think that ‘Private’ is a good idea. I see that there are plenty of different ways for the series to go in the future and a quick scan of some plot summaries tells me that Patterson does go in a few of those directions. So even if I found the first book to have some pretty serious problems, I think I could actually end up enjoying this series more than any of Patterson’s others.


Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Private: Private, Book 1 James Patterson, Maxine Paetro Peter Herman Hachette Audio Mystery & Thriller MM/DD/YYYY 7 hours, 3 minutes 6.5/10


A copy of ‘PRIVATE: PRIVATE, BOOK 1’ was purchased from Audible for review.