Sunday, 2 October 2016

Private Paris by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan (Private, #11) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

Paris is burning

- and only Private's Jack Morgan can put out the fire...

Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 411
Chapters: 111 (Plus a prologue.)
Publisher: Century

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


After not being so in love with this entry's predecessor, Private Sydney, I sat down with Private Paris, took a deep breath, and thought, 'Don't think too much.' Well, contrary to that, this book has me thinking a lot. Private Paris delves deep into issues that are front and centre in today's society. Racial and religious tensions throughout the world are tenuous and terrifying, and Patterson, along with Mark Sullivan, fully capture those emotions as they craft one of their central plots around immigration.

Combined with other plots and a solid cast, Private Paris is a smooth, realistic ride with bouts of explosive action and pitch-perfect paranoia.


Paris is burning - and only Private's Jack Morgan can put out the fire.

When Jack Morgan stops by Private's Paris office, he envisions a quick hello during an otherwise relaxing trip filled with fine food and sightseeing. But Jack is quickly pressed into duty after a call from one of his most important clients, asking Private to track down his young granddaughter who is on the run from a brutal drug dealer.

As Jack scours the city, several members of Paris's cultural elite are found dead - murdered in shocking, symbolic fashion - and the French police need Private's help. But as religious and ethnic tensions simmer in the City of Light, it's only a matter of time before the smouldering powder keg explodes.

Plot - 5/5 Stars

Whether you're an ardent fan or a newbie to Patterson and his novels, you can always be assured of fast-paced, high-stakes stories that are easy-going but definitely not about sunshine and rainbows. It's why we love him. Private Paris shows what happens when these elements are on point and refined. There's no fluff or dead weight, and revelations come fast and hard while our characters live close to death.

Aside from the racially charged story this entry portrays, Patterson and Sullivan weave another, lighter tale that meshes exceptionally well. Hired to find a respected client's granddaughter, Jack Morgan and members of his company's Paris outfit are pulled into a mysterious mess involving drugs and assassins. It's a good suspense story that's interspersed perfectly in a city growing more and more tumultuous.

The biggest plot, however, is of course the trials of immigration. Paris, like many other countries today, is receiving a tremendous amount of immigrants. And not everyone is happy with it. Private Paris explores bigotry, paranoia, and radicalism in precise detail, eliciting a variety of uncomfortable and clashing emotions from the reader.

Both authors portray both sides. They show the dangers of a religion that's out of touch, but also the intolerance of the ignorant that wish to squash those that follow their ideals in peace. This story is drenched in realism and really strikes a cord, proving to be a worthwhile read while also delivering a fantastic fictional tale.

Twists and turns abound, and the conclusion is satisfying and terrifying in its starkness. 

Pace - 5/5 Stars

Patterson novels more or less always get the pace right. But Private Paris is one that gets it right. The plots are tight and well-balanced, driven by a great cast, and written with sharp detail.

Characters - 4/5 Stars

Jack Morgan is back as our viewpoint, but a new host of characters back him up (or scoff at him, even when they're on the same side). Both old and new are strong and distinctive. In fact, Private Paris has a buddy-cop feel to it with the inclusion of Louis Langlois, Private Paris's leader. He and Jack are superb partners, and both bounce off of one another in surprisingly comical ways.

There's not a lot of development in terms of protagonist growth, but Patterson and Sullivan make up for that with their fleshed-out villains. 

There's a little romance, which isn't too bad. Personally, I'm just glad it's not between Jack and Justine, although there are a few moments of awkward tension over the phone. 

Writing - 5/5 Stars

Both authors create a divine structure that capitalises on the stories they've envisioned. With short, beautiful descriptions of Paris and the standard concise chapters, Private Paris is an efficient and emotional entry to a series that has its ups and downs.

There's a few instances of continuity, where the authors will refer to past events, but this instalment can be read as a standalone, and if you're thinking about trying the series but don't know where to start, I would recommend you do so here. That way you can see if you like the style and content from an entry I feel is one of the best so far.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

We have our good and bad times, Private series, but I do adore you when you get it right.

See you in next instalment!

Previous Instalment: Private Sydney
Next Instalment: Private Royals

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