Craig Gisto and the team at Private in Sydney arrive one morning to find the front doors smashed in. It seems as though they were the target of vandals, but something niggles at the back of Gisto's mind when he realises that the security system has also been affected and that there is no evidence of who broke down the doors or why. It doesn't seem like a big deal, until Private helps a couple do a background search on a woman who soon turns up dead - and Private can't provide evidence that the couple exists, let alone visited their offices. The case brings Gisto into the firing range of his cousin yet again, and Detective Mark Talbot seems determined to bring Private down a peg of two.
As if a murder connected to Private isn't enough of a complication, Jack Morgan has personally contacted Gisto and asked him for a personal favour - helping Eliza Moss find her missing father. In a move completely out of character, Eric Moss has resigned by email and vanished without a trace. Eliza is convinced that something has happened, and when the company her father worked for starts stonewalling them and blocking access to even the most basic of information, it becomes clear that something is going on and no one wants Private or Eliza to know about it. As the Private team scramble to find information about Moss, they uncover secrets that were meant to be kept hidden. Eliza wants to know what happened to her father and Gisto is determined to help - but that determination could cost them more than they are willing to pay.
The Private series is interesting, not just because of all the different co-authors, but also because there are Private offices all over the world which means story lines can happen a lot closer to home for international readers. While some people think New Zealand and Australia are the same place, or that we can swim from one country to the other, we are separate countries with a shared history and to a certain extent a shared culture. It was kind of fun reading a book that was set so close to home, and at times I did wonder if American readers get terms like "tallboy" or if they know what a Holden Commodore is! Private Sydney flowed well and had none of the "weight" and "jumping about" or Private Oz - it was more linear in telling the story and more focused. Kathryn Fox appears to have been a good choice as co-author as there was a seamless flow to the writing.
The basic bones of the book are two separate stories woven together by the presence of Private, and it was interesting how both stories had a strong presence without overwhelming each other. Too often crime/thrillers focus on just one story and the reality is that no police force or detective agency would ever just have one case they were working on. Patterson has a knack for writing stories that push the boundaries of what is believable without stepping so far that you can no longer suspend belief - and Private Sydney walks that fine line very well. A great read across an afternoon and one that I hope has a companion novel soon as it is great to have something set so close to home. Maybe in the next one the cast can hop the "ditch" to a major New Zealand city for some of the action .... (just saying, it could work).
If you like this book then try:
- Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
- Private London by James Patterson and Mark Pearson
- Private games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
- Private # 1 suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
- Private Berlin by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
- Private Oz by James Patterson and Michael White
- Private India by James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi
Reviewed by Brilla