“ Author: James Patterson / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 12 September 2013 / Genre: Crime & Thriller / Publisher: Cornerstone / Title: Private Berlin / ISBN 13: 9780099574118 / ISBN 10: 0099574118 / Alternative EAN: 9781780890173 „
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I am a huge fan of James Patterson, an American author who writes fast paced crime fiction. As well as stand alone thrillers, he is known for a number of series based around different detectives - Alex Cross, Michael Bennett and Lindsay Boxer in the Women's Murder Club.
Writing with a co-author, the Private Series centres around a private investigation and security company run by Jack Morgan. Patterson is now churning out books in the series - there is also Private, Private London, Private Games (set at the London 2012 Games), Private No 1 Suspect and Private Down Under - but they don't need to be read in order.
As the name suggests, Private Berlin is about the Berlin branch of the security firm. Jack Morgan doesn't have a huge role in this one but provides continuity and a link with the other books in the series. Nice that there is a female heroine, Mattie Engel whose ex fiancé, Chris Schneider, is found brutally murdered in an old slaughterhouse. We find out that Mattie broke off the engagement because she felt there was a part of Chris she could not reach. It was that dark part of his past (and indeed East Germany's past) which he kept from Mattie that came back to haunt him and this was the cause of his murder. The story follows the efforts of the Private Berlin team to find the murderer before he or she strikes again.
The characters are real and likeable (with the exception of the possible villains of course) and you get a good feel for the struggles faced by Berlin pre and post unification.
All in all the book is pure Patterson - fast moving with lots of short chapters that keep you turning the pages. Slightly formulaic but a great read nonetheless.
Private Berlin in the third instalment in James Patterson's newest series of thriller books. It follows on from Private London and Private Games. Private is the world's most exclusive detective agency and has offices all over the world; cue a whole lot more Patterson books! I really like the Private series and was looking forward to reading this one.
Mattie Engel is the protagonist of the story and previously worked on Berlin's police force and is now one of the rising stars in Private Berlin. Her life is thrown into turmoil when her colleague (and until very recently her fiancé), Chris, is found brutally murdered in a slaughterhouse that is full of other bodies.
The slaughterhouse is blown up before they get chance to take any evidence from it and Mattie has to work hard to find out what happened to her ex. The trail leads in a million different directions, but it soon becomes clear that a serial killer is loose and he is picking off victims in a very specific pattern. Mattie has to uncover Chris' oldest secrets to find his killer before he finishes his game plan.
Like I said, I really like the Private stories. I am a big fan of James Patterson, but it is nice that he has a new series out and this one is fresh and a new idea. Private Berlin carries on this new series, but each of the Private stories features different characters because it is set in a different office. Some of the characters are the same but they are relatively minor characters and don't feature heavily in the story. This means that although Private Berlin is part of the series, it reads like a different book to the others in the story so the series hasn't yet got too familiar.
Mattie Engel makes a great main character, she is a hardened detective but also has a softer side that makes her a pleasure to read about. She is has been written well and help kept me interested in the story. She came across as pretty genuine, by not being completely perfect. I also really liked her ex. Even though we never actually meet him, the story very much focusses around him and his life story so you get to know a lot about him. It is quite weird to really like a character that we don't even meet in the story. As I said there are some familiar characters and I was pleased to see that the owner of Private, Jack Morgan, appeared in the story because he is a really cool character that adds a suave and sophisticated element to Private.
The story is read from two perspectives. One is Mattie's and the other is Chris' killer's. The killer is obviously not revealed until the end, but we meet him long before that and he is quite a creepy character. Even reading his part, you can sense that he has a leering but arrogant personality and Patterson has done an excellent job of making sure that you take an instant dislike to him but can still read the story from his point of view without wanting to through your book out of the nearest window. There are a couple of other interesting characters that appear in the story and they help to create other twists and turns throughout.
There is one main story that features Mattie's ex, but there are lots of other little stories that take place throughout the book that help to keep up the suspense. This is where Patterson uses his trademark short chapters that are only a few pages long to control all of the different stories and not make it too confusing for the reader. It is quite good because almost every chapter ends with a bit of suspense and then you flip to another story, which kept me hooked and meant that I struggled to put the book down. I read it as quickly as I usually read Patterson's books, which is only a couple of days.
The ending is pretty good too and features Patterson's usual explosive style. He rather nicely tidies up all the loose ends in an epilogue afterwards, which I love although I know some will find a little too convenient.
Yes, I think this is James Patterson at his best. I know a lot of people find James Patterson's books a bit lame and simplistic, but if you are a fan, this is a good one. Private Berlin is fast paced, easy to read and gripping to the end. The characters and the story are both great and I would definitely recommend it if you are a fan.
The book is available in hardback (£8.93), paperback (£12.99), audio CD (£25.00) and kindle download (£8.48) on Amazon at the moment. To be honest I think you could probably find certainly the paperback and audio versions cheaper elsewhere because those prices seem a bit extortionate.
Hardback copy is 448 pages.