Skip to main content

The Games: A Private Novel


The Games: A Private Novel

No one reading THE GAMES will be able to justifiably accuse James Patterson or Mark Sullivan of being anything less than topically relevant. “The Games” of the title refers to the 2016 Summer Olympics, set to begin within two weeks of the publishing date of this worthy addition to the Private series in its many branches. And while the book will never be mistaken for timeless literature, it gets the job done as a here-and-now thriller worthy of your attention.

Going forward, please note that THE GAMES is not your older brother’s PRIVATE GAMES, which was published in 2012. Though some of the principals in the earlier novel are the same, including the authors, PRIVATE GAMES was set in London at the 2012 Olympic Games, while this latest offering takes place in Rio de Janeiro. It begins with a long flashback vignette in July 2014, involving Private honcho Jack Morgan at the World Cup finals in Rio and an occurrence that will have repercussions two years later. The remainder of the book concerns an extremely long eight-day period in Jack’s life, commencing on July 28, 2016 and ending less than an hour before the Olympics are set to begin. You can hear every tick of the clock that Patterson and Sullivan have constructed as the narrative alternates between Jack’s first person observations and occasional third person, off-scene interludes. There are enough plotlines and action scenes here to provide grist for three books.

"If you can’t make it to Rio for the Olympics, reading THE GAMES will function as an engrossing and riveting prelude that will cause you to appreciate what goes on behind the scenes."

Private, being an Olympic-sized security and consulting firm, has been hired to make sure that the Olympics start, continue and end without a hitch in the pony from terrorists or anyone else. In the case of THE GAMES, the “anyone else” includes a physician with a desperate plan to bring Rio’s problems to the attention of the world. Morgan’s more immediate concern is that Private has come a cropper on a huge assignment. The firm has been tasked with guarding some high-profile targets, and when they disappear, it looks bad for them and even worse for him.

Meanwhile, the streets of Rio are filled with deadly violence in the days and hours leading up to the opening ceremonies. It seems unlikely, if not impossible, that Jack will be able to keep all the plates in the air as he attempts to avoid the disasters that are seemingly arising from every corner of the city. It appears, though, that Private has unlimited resources of finance and information, with both of equal importance in this case. That notwithstanding, it will take every bit of Jack’s skill, expertise and hands-on leadership to see that the Games go on as scheduled, and successfully.

THE GAMES doesn’t concentrate exclusively on fires, explosions and body counts. Sullivan enjoys engages in ground-level “boots” research on the exotic locales featured in his novels, and this one is no exception. The primary focus here, though, is on the colossal effort that goes into creating a spectacle such as this and the obstacles that arise, both incidental to the project and deliberately created by the hand of man. If you can’t make it to Rio for the Olympics, reading THE GAMES will function as an engrossing and riveting prelude that will cause you to appreciate what goes on behind the scenes.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on June 29, 2016

The Games: A Private Novel
by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

  • Publication Date: January 3, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455585335
  • ISBN-13: 9781455585335