Monday, 26 September 2016

Private Vegas by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro (Private, #9) - Book Review

3/5 Stars

What happens in Vegas,

ends in murder...

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 479
Chapters: 120
Publisher: Arrow Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


I'm on a tight deadline tonight, folks, so let's make this snappy!

Private Vegas is okay, and that's as far as my feelings go on the positivity scale. It's a standard crime thriller with a colourful array of cases manned by a colourful cast. But entry number nine to the Private series is a fragmented ball of frustration. Stories shift violently and characters lose development earned in previous instalments.

And that's probably my biggest gripe: I really, really like Private L.A., the most recent entry before this one that features Jack Morgan (owner of Private Investigations) and his team. There's some fantastic progression, both for the overall plot of the series and the characters that populate it. And, well, it's reset here. Sure, there are allusions to past events, tons, but a jump in time renders those stories null and void, just when they were getting good.


Showgirls. Millionaires. Murder.

Jack Morgan, head of Private Investigations, the global PI agency of the rich and famous, is being pushed to the limit. His car has been firebombed, his ex is dating someone else, and his twin brother is still out to destroy him.

But Private doesn't rest, and nor do its clients: not the LAPD who need Private's help catching two scumbags with diplomatic immunity, and not the client who has just confessed to murdering his wife.

Add to that Jack's best friend being held on a trumped-up charge that could see him locked away for a very long time, and it seems like all bets are off...

Plot - 3/5 Stars

Let's get this out of the way first: Private Vegas spends very little time in Vegas. We do go there, just not for very long. Most of this entry is set in L.A. With a blend of the political, the nefarious, and the drama of a courtroom, Private Vegas does have its stupendously thrilling moments that charge you up with adrenaline. It's not a bad suspense novel by any stretch; it just doesn't reach any new heights.

As I mentioned, Private L.A. has some plots that aren't resolved during its run, and that's fine; I fully expected them to be picked up the next time we journeyed with this cast. In a way they are, but Patterson and Maxine Paetro reset the board, sacrificing that glorious stack of suspense to start again. For instance, I'm an avid lover of the sibling rivalry between Jack and Tommy. Their battles and the tension are superb. But I really feel that momentum has been lost. Building a tenuous plot in L.A., the authors brush past it in Vegas with barely a mention.

It doesn't help that it's a plot that isn't really resolved and has too much information missing for it to be over.

And it's not even a problem with continuity; the authors show they have phenomenal memories as this entry elaborates on histories and recalls events from past novels.

The finale is, well, meh. It's alright. Satisfying here and there, but there's no fist-pumping glee.

Pace - 3.5/5 Stars

The novel's flow is marred by the swift switches in stories. Normally Patterson and Paetro excel at juggling many flaming balls of thrills, but Vegas lets a few fall. Cohesion feels jagged. Action, exposition and fast-paced chapters are still the norm, so it's not a difficult book to read. Quite the contrary.

Characters - 3/5 Stars

I have to get one thing off my chest first: Stop, I repeat, stop, with this on-again, off-again romance plot with Jack and Justine. It's been nine books. Nine! I thought the last time we were with this cast that this issue had been, if not resolved, then working its way to it. But, nope, the games are still going and the bland romantic chemistry between the two only damages their wonderful, individual personalities. 

A little twist at the end does spice this line of the story up, but I'm not entirely sure any spicing would be enough.

Aside from that, the rest of the characters are fine. Jack's fine. Sci's fine. Del Rio is fine...


Writing - 3.5/5 Stars

The structure is what lets Vegas down. The multiple plots just don't mesh well and don't develop smoothly. There are silver linings to them, but they, and their conclusions, feel rushed.

On the plus side, short chapters, short, but clear, descriptions, and quick, witty dialogue all help keep the quality at a point where the book isn't a struggle to read.

Overall - 3/5 Stars

Sorry for the messy review, people (if it is messy, I'm in a rush, but hopefully I've done all that's needed clearly). 

Private Vegas is an average entry to a mostly great series. 

Previous Instalment: Private India
Next Instalment: Private Sydney

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