Thursday, 29 September 2016

Private Sydney by James Patterson & Kathryn Fox (Private, #10) - Book Review

2.5/5 Stars

Secrets. Conspiracy. Murder.

All in a day's work...

Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 335
Chapters: 128
Publisher: Century

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


I guess I've found my least favourite entry to the series (so far). Private Sydney isn't atrocious. There are suspenseful and superb moments throughout that comfortably sit within Patterson's ballpark; and then there are parts, big parts, that are so convoluted and confusing that the flow of the story is completely crippled.

Even the cast is a muddle. Bland and unimposing, it highlights a fault this series often commits. Outside of main protagonist Jack Morgan and his team, when instalments take place in other Private Investigation offices around the world, the cast is pretty much a copy-and-paste job (with some individual exceptions here and there).

Private Sydney does have smooth transitions, and its chapters are short and concentrated, but I can't help but feel unsatisfied and yearn for more solid answers to the many questions the book raises.


Even for Private Investigations, the world's top detective agency, it's tough to find a man who doesn't exist...

Craig Gisto has promised Eliza Moss that his elite team at Private Sydney will investigate the disappearance of her father. After all, as the CEO of a high-profile research company, Eric Moss shouldn't be difficult to find.

Except it's not just the man who's gone missing, all evidence he ever existed has vanished too. And there are powerful figures pulling the strings who want Moss to stay 'lost'.

But when a woman is found brutally murdered and a baby is missing, Private are suddenly drawn into another frantic search. And this is a case Craig has to throw everything into, because he may well be responsible for sending the killer straight to the victim's door...

Plot - 2.5/5 Stars

Maybe it's just because I've been tired today, or maybe I missed a piece of pertinent information in the novel, but Private Sydney doesn't feel like it fits the series. We're taking a break from Jack Morgan and are back with Craig Gisto, who we last saw in Private Down Under. Breaking the book into two plots, Patterson and Kathryn Fox start things off pretty well. Both stories have potential, and both grab the reader by their inner detectives.

The murdered woman and missing baby prove to be the most solid lines of plot. Things develop with twists and turns that are exciting and mystifying, and the conclusion is adrenaline-infused action mixed with some emotional moments that do strike home. It's a good story, not spectacular, but good. I enjoyed it.

The search for missing man Eric Moss, however, is not. It starts fine, with intrigue and strong, satisfying secrecy. From there, things delve deep into convolution. I understand its end and its answers, well, at least I think I do, but the journey is not pleasant. This plot feels the need to repeat things constantly, piling events upon events that only serve to reiterate the fact that something is 'strange' rather than adding anything for the reader to piece together.

Theories are thrown around and barely backed up, only for the answers to be a maddening mix of them all. And instead of taking the time to smooth it out, the authors rush the end, leaving a few loose threads.

Pace - 3/5 Stars

Private Sydney, surprisingly, contains a lot of useless fluff. It's a shock to the system as it strays from Patterson's usual style. There are interesting aspects that thrill and action that kicks ass, so the story is steady enough. Its dips, however, are very, very noticeable.

Characters - 2/5 Stars

The cast of Private Sydney is a weak one. Barely any background leaves the characters empty, giving them no motivation other than magical altruism to explain their actions. Each have their own role of course, but why those roles are right for them are a mystery. Development doesn't exist and personalities mesh so much that I'm thankful for their names.

There is one shining light, and that comes in the form of Eliza Moss. A new character, Eliza is the daughter of the missing man Craig is hired to find. She's disabled, and the only reason I mention that is because it offers an amazingly inspirational theme of overcoming adversity to a novel that desperately needs a spark. The fact that her condition doesn't hold her back and that the story enforces this with an impressive history does wonders.

Writing - 2.5/5 Stars

There are a lot of chapters that don't add much to the overall plot. Or sometimes they add what's already been added. Only to then go on to add more of the same. Chapters merge well enough, and there's no real disjoint or uncomfortable reading tied to the writing style.

Overall - 2.5/5 Stars

Private Sydney has its moments, but they are too few and too far between. If you enjoy the series it's worth the few hours, and even though it can stand on its own, I don't recommend starting with it. There are better entries that don't feel as rushed.

Previous Instalment: Private Vegas
Next Instalment: Private Paris

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