Thursday, 22 September 2016

Private L.A. by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan (Private, #7) - Book Review

4/5 Stars


It looks like the whole world is about to discover whether Private are really as good as they say they are...

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 487
Chapters: 134 (Plus a prologue with two parts.)
Publisher: Arrow Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


During the course of running this blog, I've been asked several times why I review entire series. Don't you get bored? I'm asked. Don't your reviews start to sound the same if you review tons of similar books? Yeah, maybe, but I'm a little obsessive. I like reviewing a book upon completion, whether it be a short, cluttered mess or an in-depth look, book blogging is a hobby. 

I also like the idea of giving people that are looking for reassurance about a series an entry-by-entry look. The beginning novel to a series might be utterly sensational or complete crap, but that doesn't mean future entries will be. I'm persistent, so I apologise for any monotony in reviews.

What prompts this you ask. Well, I'm an avid fan of Mr Patterson's works, and out of all the authors I've read since I started this blog, his books are likely some of the most reviewed, and that can sometimes lead to fatigue on my part and repeated critique (probably what you'll see in this review).

So that's why. I love this little hobby and my obsessive parts love it too. 

Synopsis (This time round, I'll be using the blurb that comes with my edition of the book.)

Jack Morgan is having a bad week.
His twin brother is up on a murder charge and determined to frame him for the crime, and one of Jack's clients has just called to report the burnt bodies of four surfers on his beach.

But what seems like a random mugging gone wrong soon reveals something far worse - a killer calling themselves No Prisoners is holding the city to ransom. And there's more bad news: Hollywood's golden couple, Thom and Jennifer Harlow, have been kidnapped, along with their adopted children.

It looks like the whole world is about to discover whether Private are really as good as they say they are...

Plot - 4/5 Stars

Private L.A. sees us returning to, well, L.A. Back with series' protagonist Jack Morgan (other books in the series sometimes follow other characters around the world, all connected to Private, Jack's investigative company), we follow his group as another batch of unimaginable cases comes barrelling his way. Yes, that's pretty much the series' formula; in fact, that's pretty much Patterson's formula; but, don't be put off, Private L.A. is a tight thriller with salacious secrets, vicious violence, and heroic happenings. 

Recently I'd been having fatigue over the series, so a little break has brought me right back to being in the mood for an easy-going suspense novel that I know will ratchet my heart rate right up. Private L.A. does that, and then some. Sure, there are some ludicrous elements that beggar belief, and some wildly implausible coincidences that push our characters to the right answer, but fun is fun.

The cases themselves are developed well and full of nifty surprises to keep you on your toes. They're interesting and intricate, and the authors (Patterson and Mark Sullivan) show genuine care as to how the stories shape and progress.

The finale offers satisfaction galore while also keeping some minor, but exceptionally riveting, plots hanging, leading to the next time we join Jack and his gang of wonderful misfits.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

Even at near 500 pages, Private L.A. is a smooth, eventful ride. There's your perfect balance between action and exposition; some nice development for a few main players; and sibling rivalry that'll cut to the core.

Characters - 4/5 Stars

Jack Morgan is a solid protagonist, and he's definitely one of my favourites. Intelligent and capable, Private L.A. intensifies his relationship with his twin brother Tommy with a game of cat and mouse that acts as an admirable backdrop to the bigger plots. This sibling battle is one of the highlights of the series, and I am glad the authors have kept it going.

Justine also proves to be interesting. Previous entries have seen her as more of a background character in most ways, an on-again off-again romance for Jack. In this entry, some fantastic development surrounds her, shooting her up the cast list.

The rest of the characters fill out nicely with strong personalities and unique skills, but their development is nonexistent. 

Villains have solid motivations for their actions, and those that don't are readily dispatched with a healthy dose of karma. All in all, great stuff.

Writing - 4.5/5 Stars

There are maybe too many instances of deus ex machina, but I can't muster any real frustration to care. They aren't bad examples of it, and they do wonders for moving the plot forward.

As usual, short chapters keep things condensed but colourful, showcasing the authors' ability to use minimal details to create incredible scenes. It's simple.

Overall - 4/5 Stars

Another hit for me.

Roll on the next entry!

Previous Instalment: Private Down Under
Next Instalment: Private India

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