4 stars out of 5
Talk about perfect timing! This book, set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, makes a great lead-in to the 2016 Olympics, set to begin there Aug. 5. In fact, I read chunks of it with one eye on my Kindle and the other on our TV set, so I wouldn't miss swimming, gymnastics and track-and-field trials.
Hopefully, though, none of the events of the book - most of which take place within a couple of weeks of the Olympics - will be replicated at the real thing. The story actually begins a couple of years earlier at the World Games, when Jack Morgan's international security and consulting firm, Private, is hired to help make sure things go off without a hitch. Almost unnoticed amid all that action is the death of two young children, who mysteriously contracted an Ebola-like virus.
Now Morgan is back in the "Marvelous City," teaming up with the beautiful and super-qualified chief of Private's Rio office. He's actually there to protect the two teenage daughters of a client - a filthy rich guy who's company won bids to help build the Olympics venues. The daughters, it seems, are volunteers in the city's favelas - extremely poor neighborhoods interspersed among those filled with million-dollar homes. As bad luck would have it, the girls turn up missing - and Jack's capable team now has the new, near-impossible task of finding them before it's too late.
As all this is happening, another potentially deadly scenario is taking place unbeknownst to the kidnapping. Someone connected to the earlier World Games, it seems, has decided that no bad deed shall go unpunished. As the two story lines begin to merge, Jack and his team are charged with a new, and potentially far more deadly, challenge: Preventing a deadly threat to the Olympics and the city as a whole from becoming reality.
It's an interesting, fast-paced book, but a modicum (or more) of predictability means it probably won't keep you on the edge of your seat. Still, this is probably my favorite series of the Patterson book empire; already, I'm looking forward to the next location.
The Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan (Little, Brown and Co., June 2016); 400 pp.