Private by James Patterson

February 19, 2011

Plot summary (from the publisher):

The police can’t help you

Former CIA agent 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 sleekest, most exciting thriller ever.


  • As with all Patterson/Paetro collaborations, Private consists of relatively short chapters and the action moves rather quickly. There were definitely some slow spots in this one, but that’s probably because it is the first of a series and they have to go into character backgrounds a bit more.
  • Jack was a fairly interesting main character. He was strong and could take care of himself in fights, but didn’t come off as a total meathead who endlessly debates friends about the best creatine powder or whatever. He was actually pretty (street) smart, and had a bit of depth to him.
  • Two of the three cases were interesting. I liked the NFL one and the schoolgirl murders; I could have done without the crime involving Jack’s friends. The answer to that one was clear right from the beginning anyway.


  • Hated the relationship stuff with Molly and that other woman in Jack’s office. What was her name, Janet or something? With three storylines going on already, the personal stuff was a major distraction.
  • Even more than the relationship drama, I couldn’t stand the detours to deal with Jack’s twin brother. What an obnoxious, unlikable character that is. As I said, I think this book is the first in a series, so they’re clearly setting Tom up to have a competing firm. But even though I can understand the reason behind these scenes, I thought they still sucked.


Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro was a quick read that was interesting and engaging at times, but extremely boring at others. The worst part about it was that I felt I’d read it all before. Given the track record with these two authors, that’s not surprising. They clearly have a template and simply change the names and specifics of the crimes for each new book. I won’t be coming back to this series again. I give Private 2 stars out of 5.

One Response to “Private by James Patterson”

  1. This is the favorite book of my roommate and its reminds me of her. Such a great book..

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