4 stars out of 5
If it’s gruesome murder, mayhem and terrorism you want, you’ll find them all here – from the start to the finish. Yes, much of it goes way over the top, but I have to admit even those parts kept me reading almost nonstop.
It begins innocently enough as Jack Morgan, founder of high-tech, high-profile security firm Private, stops in to visit with his old friend Louis Langlois, who heads up Private’s Paris office. There, Jack gets a call from a wealthy client, who insists that Jack try to find his granddaughter. She’s all he’s got left, and she appears to have landed on the wrong side of a dangerous drug dealer who’s intent on doing her in.
Just as Jack begins his search, one of the country’s cultural heavyweights turns up murdered – literally - turned upside down to hang. Then comes another, and another, with not a single one going gently into the good night. The MOs are similar, as is the presence of an unexplained graffiti symbol, AB-16. And if the murders weren’t enough, the authors throw in a few rather spectacular explosions that kill both police and innocent bystanders that are claimed to be acts of terrorist Muslim cells.
Everything moves along quickly (the short chapters always present in Patterson’s books help with that aspect). If I have an issue besides the almost implausible scenarios, it’s that Jack himself seems a bit subdued, for want of a better descriptor – not quite up to his usual self. Maybe it’s because the authors wanted to shine more of the spotlight on the Private Paris chief – who I found to be both a competent and likable character - but overall, Jack’s somewhat lackluster appearances were a bit of a disappointment. Then too, although the search for the missing granddaughter was resolved, it came off as almost an afterthought – making me wonder why that thread was included at all. All that considered, this book isn’t my pick of the series litter, but it’s still a pretty darned fun read.
Private Paris by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan (Little, Brown and Co., March 2016); 411 pp.