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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Private: Games by James Patterson and

Private Games (Private, #4)Private Games by James Patterson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  Private, the world's most renowned investigation firm, has been commissioned to provide security for the 2012 Olympic games in London. Its agents are the smartest, fastest, and most technologically advanced in the world, and 400 of them have been transferred to London to protect over 10,000 competitors who represent more than 200 countries.

The opening ceremony is still hours away when Private investigator and single father of twins, Nigel Steele, is called to the scene of a ruthless murder. A high-ranking member of the games' organizing committee and his mistress have been killed. It's clear that it wasn't a crime of passion, but one of precise calculation and execution.

Newspaper reporter Karen Pope receives a letter from a person who calls himself Cronus, claiming responsibility for the murders. He also proclaims that he will restore the Olympics to their ancient glory and will destroy all who have corrupted the games with lies, cheating, and greed. Karen immediately hires Private to examine the letter, and she and Nigel uncover a criminal genius who won't stop until he's ended the games for good.

Read as an audiobook.

Private: Games revolves around Peter Knight, now head of Private: London and the start of the London Olympic Games. Peter is still reeling from the loss of three Private: London's personnel in a tragic plane crash, when the killer known as Chronos starts to methodically target members of the Olympic committee and the athletes themselves. First down is Peter's Mother's fiance, followed by two attacks on other committee members, an athlete during opening games, and more follow. On top of all the pressure to find his mother's fiance's murder and the security of the games, Peter's nanny quits. As the body count and pressure rise, things become rather interesting.

Mixed thoughts on this selection. I have noted before I'm not a fan of knowing the movement, actions, and thoughts of the antagonist. This book was no exception and after the opening chapter I found myself skipping over most chapters with the killer. Was I missing anything? A bit, yes, but nothing I couldn't figure out which makes me happier anyway. I did catch a few chapters from the point of view of Chronos's Furies, which I liked better than Chronos.

Point of contention: Peter's kids are reported to be three years old. They did not necessarily behave like three year olds, which always bugs me with kids in books. Personally, I think writing about kids would be extremely difficult, because the years and behaviors rather meld together in sleep-deprived nostalgia about the wee ones. Unfortunately, this manifests itself in books with kids behaving out of age and thus out of character.

What I do like about the Private series so far is the intense punch these books pack into a rather small space of time. The authors heap (mostly) believable calamity upon calamity on the protagonists and through this trial by fire the hero has to either rise, or be consumed. How the authors pull together all the plot threads is what really intrigues me and what I enjoy the most.

Note, I say I had mixed thoughts on this one - I liked the action. I didn't like knowing Chronos's thoughts and actions. I liked the idea of Chronos and the Furies. I didn't like the kids. I liked the Olympic setting. I didn't like the loose ends floating around.

The big one: I didn't like the ending. Cheesiest ending ever - seriously, I was laughing out loud and that's not a good thing. Without giving any spoilers, possibly the corniest climatic confrontation I have ever read in addition to feeling rushed. It was as if the authors needed to keep the book under a certain word count, had 1000 words to wrap things up, and didn't want to cut something from the body of the book.

Overall, aspects of this were engaging, parts were skip worthy, and the ending fell flat. Recommended with reservations.

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