This book was sent to me courtesy of Random House India in exchange of an honest review
This would be the third James Patterson thriller I have read in the past few month and once again, I am proud to announce, it hits all the correct spots. Its always a gamble that you might happen to pick up an author’s not-so-great effort the first time and dismiss his other works on the basis of that, as happened on my first outing with Mr. James Patterson. Thankfully, I decided to give him a second chance and am glad that I did. Although, I will still continue to shy away from the Alex Cross series and stick to his other works for the time being.
Private is the name of a detective agency with headquarters all over the world, hence the names of the books. When I read the blurb on Goodreads about the famous Hollywood family that disappears, I wondered if it would have a bit too much of the glamour quotient for me to handle. However, the author is smart enough not to harp on that aspect overmuch and move on with the story instead. There are two or three story lines running parallel to each other and at one point I was sure they will tie up together in a neat bow at the end. That did not happen and that was a twist in itself.
So, we have a disappearing Hollywood family, a group of highly organized terrorists on the loose and a twin accused of murder. The Hollywood family has just finished a long shoot in Vietnam and have taken a few days off to recoup before jumping back into work. Two days into their 6-day break the entire family disappears from the ranch. With the family lawyers and publicists being uncomfortable with police presence, Jack Morgan from Private is asked to step in. As his firm tries to unravel the mystery, they realize that all is not as it seems in the perfect world of the starlets. At the same time, a group of terrorists have decided to hold a city to ransom by shooting a few innocent people every day. Once again, the fear of publicity and loss of political face forces the management to ask for the Private’s help, who will also serve as convenient scapegoats in case of things heading south. The terrorists are highly trained and have a hidden agenda that they manage to carry out at the last minute. An old lady plays a very important and unexpected part in their reign of terror and somehow manages to outshine the entire cast of expected heroes in the book. The twin is an alarming individual for sure, especially since he turns out to be Jack Morgan’s twin and accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend. He is malicious and cruel and absolutely scary. I was left wondering what anyone could do in a situation where one’s own blood is determined to hurt you in the worst possible way. Walking away is not as easy as it would seem. And as matters are not completely resolved between them in the end, I might have to go and pick up the next book in the series soon.
I liked all the characters very much and finally understood what CrossFit actually means. Just reading about one of the characters doing those grueling exercises at 6 in the morning made my joints ache at the same time as making me fantasize about beating everyone else at a program like that and running around in short shorts. That the character is a woman and manages to save her life just because she is supremely fit even though she has no killer instincts may also have played a part in fueling my imagination. The amount of things that I learn from my books never fails to amaze me and quite often those around me.
The book is one of those unputdownable one-night thriller reads, so remember to pick it up on a weekend.