|With quite the colorful cast of characters, Private is destined to become another successful series in the James Patterson arsenal. Jack Morgan is a war hero who nearly died in Afghanistan but for his friend Rick Del Rio who performed CPR. Jack suffers from recurrent nightmares about the event with thoughts that he should have been able to save his fellow soldiers on the helicopter he was piloting.
After returning home, Jack visits his father in prison. Tom Morgan was a very successful private investigator but is now serving a life sentence for extortion and murder. Tom bequeaths his upper-class private investigation business - Private - and $15 million to Jack and his final wish is that Jack make Private successful once again. Jack's twin brother, Tom, Jr., has a gambling problem. After Jack turns down a job offer from the "mob" to find a missing person, he learns that Jr. owes the mob more than $600,000. At the conclusion of Private, we get a hint that these two could be competitors in a sequel.
Flash forward five years and Jack is indeed very successful and Private is now international in scope. His partner and former lover Justine Smith is trying to track down the "Schoolgirl Killer" who has just murdered his 12th teenage girl over the period of two years. The killer is known for his habit of taking "murderabilia" from his victims, hiding them around the city and then notifying the authorities. Jack is working on a case at the request of his best friend Andy Cushman. Andy's wife Shelby has been brutally beaten and murdered at their home. Jack previously dated Shelby and introduced Andy to her. If this isn't enough for Private to handle, Jack's uncle and surrogate father, who is the owner of the LA Raiders, meets with Jack and the owners of the Forty-Niners and the Vikings with concerns about a possible gambling fix in professional football.
Helping Jack solve these three cases are the eccentric Dr. Seymour Kloppenberg aka Dr. Science who heads up the multimillion dollar forensics labs at Private. Dr. Sci carries on an unusual Skype relationship with a European counterpart. Then there is Maureen Roth aka Mo-bot. This Harvard PhD trained and tattoo-covered computer wizard excels in tracking down leads over the internet. Rick Del Rio, after a brief stint in prison, is back working with Jack as well. His temper can be either a help or a hindrance in their investigations but his loyalty to Jack is never questioned.
Private is exactly what readers expect from a James Patterson novel – a quick read with short chapters and loads of action. If you are a Patterson fan, you will not be disappointed. Jack Morgan is a great protagonist with good looks, brains and enough demons to keep him grounded. Bring on even more Private.