Book Review: Private Games by James Patterson

With James Patterson’s stalwart series’ of books (Alex Cross, Lindsey Boxer, Daniel X and so on) well established now, the author has gone on to create a new series in the form of Private. Private Games is the latest in this series and I have just finished listening to the audiobook version of it, read by Paul Panting.

Private is a prestigious worldwide security agency that has some extremely high profile and important clients. This time it is charged with providing security for the Olympic Games 2012 in London. All is going well until a pesky and slightly deranged criminal mastermind sets his sights on destroying London and the Olympic Games themselves. As one of Private’s bigwigs, Peter Knight is right in the thick of it and must find the person who is killing in the name of the purity of the traditional games before he reaches his ultimate goal of stopping the modern games forever.

The story follows Patterson’s typical fast paced style with over a hundred short chapters which make the story move along quickly and keep you turning pages until the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed it. To be honest I have tired a bit of late of Patterson’s books, particularly those in the Alex Cross series. I feel that they have become a little samey and predictable, whereas this was a welcome change from the norm from me. It was nice to learn about a new character in a new place.

Obviously based on the upcoming Olympic games, it felt quite topical as well and I felt like I could relate to what was happening in the story. Clearly I don’t mean the bit about the crazy guy destroying the games, but it was nice to read about places and things that I recognise. There were slight issues with the story in this respect though. It didn’t quite have the attention to detail that Patterson usually applies to his work. Whether this is because I don’t usually know enough about the places and people (ie Washington DC and San Francisco) to notice mistakes or whether he really hasn’t been paying quite as much attention as he should have his time, I’m not sure. One glaring mistake was the fact that Brazil play England in the final of the football, but this isn’t possible being that it is Great Britain rather than individual countries within the British Isles that take part in the Olympic Games.

The story is read, as I said, by Paul Panting. He does a pretty good job for the most part. Paul Panting is an actor who has done a lot of bit part work in fairly high profile TV programmes like Eastenders, Silent Witness and The Bill. I don’t recognise the name and I didn’t recognise his face when I Googled him, but I think that I didn’t recognise his voice was much better. I think it would have been distracting to hear a familiar voice and it would have, for me, taken away from the story.

Panting has to do a few different accents, including Jamaican and American, and he does them fairly well, if a little stereotypically. One of the things I liked best about his storytelling was the way he changed his voice and tone depending on which part of the story he was reading. In different parts of the book, the focus alternates between a third person account of Peter Knight’s actions and a first person account of the killer’s. It might have been a little difficult to differentiate between the two had Panting not completely changed the way he spoke. When he was speaking the killer’s part it was almost like a Shakespeare style soliloquy that made it seem more atmospheric and engaging.

The audio book is currently available on Amazon for £6.59, which is a few pounds cheaper than the Kindle and hardback equivalents. I think it is excellent value for money. The audiobook is the unabridged version and is presented over 8 CDs.

I would absolutely recommend Private Games for Patterson fans because I really do think it is him back to his best. A great read!


Kristin said...

I love James Patterson and this is one of my new favorite series. I have to say, the whole time I was reading this one, I kept thinking, what if this really happened during the upcoming Olympics??? It would be crazy!

Have you read Private London? It was only published in the UK, but I was able to get a copy b/c my brother lives there and he picked it up for me.

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