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Private Paris


Private Paris

I love the concept of James Patterson’s Private series almost as much as I do the execution. Private is a global security and investigative agency owned by Jack Morgan, who is a very hands-on type of guy. In addition to helming Private’s headquarters in Los Angeles, Jack likes to pay visits to the agency’s offices in world capitals such as Berlin and London. Where he goes, of course, trouble follows. Mark Sullivan has been one of Patterson’s main go-to collaborative authors in this series; his keen eye for detail and background, as well as his usual flawless pacing, makes this latest installment another must-read.

As PRIVATE PARIS begins, we find Jack (following an introductory vignette that gets things rolling) in Paris enjoying a repast with Louis Langlois, who runs Private Paris and is an ex-member of the French National Police with almost three decades of service with La Crim, the brigade of the police judiciaire tasked with investigating serious crimes. Langlois is giving Jack a spirited explanation of the eccentricities of Paris and its citizens when Jack gets an unexpected telephone call from Sherman Wilkerson, one of Private’s most important clients. Wilkerson has just received a frantic call from his granddaughter, Kim --- who, for the past few years, has been running through Europe with a fast crowd --- begging him to rescue her from some drug dealers who are trying to kill her.

"...a heck of an entertaining story that moves readers rapidly from page to page while also providing a bit of a triptych tour of Paris and its culture."

As it happens, the young woman is in Paris. Jack, with the extremely able (and entertaining) assistance of Langlois, leaps into action. Their attempts to keep Kim safe are hindered not only by the tenacious criminals who are after her, but also by Kim herself, for whom “high maintenance” is a default setting. She insists that they cannot call the police, convinced it will endanger her even more.

Meanwhile, Paris is shaken by a series of mysterious and disturbing murders victimizing members of the French cultural elite. The killings are linked by an enigmatic graffiti tag, that being “AB-16.” Jack and Private Paris are soon involved in the investigation of those murders as well, notwithstanding the reluctance of the French police and government. The City of Lights soon becomes a City of Death, with only Jack and Private Paris standing in the way of almost certain destruction.

PRIVATE PARIS is not high literary art; not everything needs to be. Instead it’s a heck of an entertaining story that moves readers rapidly from page to page while also providing a bit of a triptych tour of Paris and its culture. And let’s not forget that at the heart of this book --- as with so many of Patterson’s efforts, collaborative and otherwise --- is a mystery manipulated by a formidable antagonist.

Sullivan, a highly regarded thriller author in his own right, has his considerable action writing chops on full display here while managing to intersperse descriptions of interesting and offbeat street scenery with explosions and bloodshed. The result is enough action and suspense to sustain at least a couple of books. Hopefully Patterson will see fit to return to Private’s Paris office --- not to mention some of its other locales --- in the near future.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on March 17, 2016

Private Paris
by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

  • Publication Date: September 6, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455585149
  • ISBN-13: 9781455585144