Friday, 15 July 2016

Private Down Under by James Patterson & Michael White (Private, #6) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

Kidnap, Murder, Blackmail.

Private Sydney is open for business...

Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 338
Chapters: 142 (Plus a prologue.)
Publisher: Century

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


Private Down Under is likely to polarise readers depending on what you're looking for. In the mood for a fast, flippant thriller? Then this'll be your jam. Looking for a deep, emotionally ravaging novel with intense themes and critical acclaim? Yeah, well, you should probably give this one a pass.

I feel that that's the case for most Patterson novels: They're almost lighthearted in a way. I don't mean that to detract from them (hey, I love me a James Patterson book), and while there are a few exceptions, I've seen a lot of people get pretty prissy that novels like this don't give them what it doesn't offer.

Private Down Under follows the author's trend of straight-forward, adrenaline-infused fun. It's going to stretch your skeptisism to breaking point, but there's no denying its macabre enjoyability. It revels in brutality, but moves so swiftly that the shock is somewhat blunted. This, in my opinion, and in this case, isn't bad. It leaves room for the reader's intrigue to grow, and while not a heartbreaker, the novel offers a thrilling experience that can tug at your emotions.

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Private, the elite investigative company owned by Jack Morgan, has grown.
A new team celebrates the opening of its Sydney offices, ready to take the myriad of cases coming their way.
But what they receive dampens their spirits.
A man crashes the opening reception and dies; a serial killer hunts wealthy women; and a rock star is positive he'll be murdered on his twenty-seventh birthday.
It's going to be a hell of a week.
And new boss Craig Gisto will be put to the test...

Plot - 4/5 Stars

Private Down Under starts off fast and furious. So many rapturous things happen all at the one time. The typical murder, mayhem and mystery formula is strongly present and delicious. The variety of cases this time round work brilliantly, each have their own threads that delight. Focusing on so many stories can sometimes wreck a novel, but Patterson and fellow author Michael White do a good job of balancing. Be assured, there's something for you in this plot even if you don't like it as a whole package.

It does stutter a little about halfway through, which is rare for a Patterson novel, things sort of stagnate, but once we reach the latter stages everything shoots back up to dangerously addictive levels and delivers action-packed and satisfying closing scenes.

Pace - 4.5/5 Stars

Aside from the little stall, Private Down Under is a rabid animal of a novel. Its lightning-quick flow is faster than this series has done so far, so it could be said that the beginning and ending are a little rushed. But when a novel is only 338 pages long with plots that captivate, you can't really complain.

Characters - 3.5/5 Stars

Private Down Under's collection of characters is probably one of the best in the series (most entries in Private switch it up), but I'm still a little frustrated. You could honestly copy and paste any cast from any of the entries into each novel and nothing would change. They're just too replaceable.

In saying that, the authors do a great job of forging an emotional connection to the main character, Craig Gisto, and a smattering of others, including a villain. Some character backgrounds truly contribute to the mentalities within the novel, but it's inconsistent.

Justine, for example, from Jack Morgan's group, makes an appearance for the opening and is present throughout. You'd think with a bigwig there that, when the crap hits the fan, they'd be right there on the front lines, but no, Justine, despite being a major character in other novels, contributes nothing here.

Craig Gisto, our protagonist and the new leader of Sydney's Private, is good. His history and personal experiences are riveting, even if his personality is bland. There's family drama for him, which is interesting, but it feels like a poor substitute of the much better Jack/Tommy dynamic we have in other entries.

Writing - 4/5 Stars

For the most part Private Down Under rocks its structure and conveys things with simple, but clear, descriptions. The short chapters are fine and add to the fast flow, but I found some inconsistent switching of tenses. Patterson sometimes writes specific chapters in present tense to help them stand out while the rest are past, but this entry does it haphazardly, and for a short time.

Sometimes the tenses become mixed, with a few instances of a chapter using present tense in an area where past is predominant.

It's not really a big deal, but it's noticeable.

Overall - 4/5 Stars

A decent thriller in a series that, if you have the time, won't take up too much of it.

Previous Instalment: Private Berlin
Next Instalment: Private L.A.

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