Review: Private Sydney by James Patterson

Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Title: Private Sydney
Author: James Patterson & Kathryn Fox
Publisher: Cornerstone Digital
Publication Date: 13th August 2015
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3/5
Purchase: Amazon
Even for Private Investigations, the world’s top detective agency, it’s tough to find a man who doesn’t exist...

Craig Gisto has promised Eliza Moss that his elite team at Private Sydney will investigate the disappearance of her father. After all, as CEO of a high-profile research company, Eric Moss shouldn’t be difficult to find.

Except it’s not just the man who’s gone missing. Despite the most advanced technology at their disposal, they find every trace of him has vanished too.

And they aren’t the only ones on the hunt. Powerful figures want Moss to stay ‘lost’, while others just as ruthlessly want him found.

Meanwhile, a routine background check becomes a frantic race to find a stolen baby and catch a brutal killer – a killer Private may well have sent straight to the victim’s door...

I love Australia and I was very excited when Private Down Under was first released but when I read it, was left disappointed because I didn't get that vision or feeling of Australia. It was the same with Private London; never have I read a book set in London that felt so American. That said, the first book featuring Craig Gisto introduced some characters who definitely deserved their own continuing branch of Private and I'm glad James Patterson recruited Kathryn Fox to pen Private Sydney because it is marginally better than the previous installment.

The Private series of books often contain multiple threads within the same story and in Private Sydney Craig Gisto and his team have two cases to contend with. The first being the disappearance of a CEO of a high-profile research company. He has seemingly vanished without a trace. Quite literally as there's no evidence the man ever existed. The other case begins with Craig arriving at the Private offices to meet a couple who are looking into surrogacy and want a background check done on a potential surrogate. Hours later and the surrogate turns up dead, and the couple have vanished, and there's no trace that they ever existed either.

Private Sydney didn't grip me straightaway, and I was a little annoyed at how contrived some of the plot felt. For example the couple looking into the surrogacy arrive on a day when the reception area of the Private offices have been ransacked, and there's no CCTV. A company such as Private would not have a simple glass door as an entry point, nor would they have their main workstation which controls the CCTV etc within the reception area. That said as a mystery it definitely works as more clues are revealed to the reader, in both cases. I just think though that with the resources that Private are supposed to have, I wish that they could work on a grander scale and that the authors would make the book more of an adventure thriller than your formulaic crime novel. Private could stand out amongst Patterson's many other crime novels if there was just that little bit more to them.

One thing I did enjoy about the story though was what Kathryn Fox brought to it, especially in how authentic the whole thing felt in terms of the setting. Rather than just throwing in a few random place names you can tell that the whole thing has been very well thought-out, and real life cases and Australian history are referred to which again just adds to the authenticity. Kathryn has said in an interview that she's busy for the foreseeable future, which does leave me wondering whether this series (the Aussie side of things at least) will be continued. But for now it's a good installment in the Private series but nothing that James Patterson's readers haven't read before.

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