Christopher Schneider is an agent with an elite investigation team, Private, at their Berlin office.
Mysteriously, he has disappeared, and his fellow agent and ex-fiancée, Mattie, and the rest of the team are out to find him.
Retracing the days leading up to his disappearance uncovers dark truths about Chris’s childhood, and a past that has come back to haunt him and others.
When I started this book, I didn’t realize that it was part of a series, and I was a little concerned about continuity.
But this series doesn’t seem to need any continuity. As far as I can understand this series is based in different cities with different people in each book. The common theme is Private which is an elite, international investigation organisation with branches worldwide. And each book in the series is based in a particular city…hence books like Private Berlin, Private London, and so on. Of course, there are a few characters in multiple books but for the most part these books work very well as stand-alone books.
So coming back to Private…it is a detective agency staffed by experts in their fields.
When Private agent Chris Schneider goes missing, his ex-fiancée and current colleague needs to investigate his recent cases and find out why. The suspects range from a soccer player who could be throwing matches, a ruthless and wealthy businessman, and possibly even a serial killer who once worked for the East German Secret Police.
The book starts off with a lot of promise and holds the suspense almost throughout the entire book. Of late, I almost always guess killers very early in the story, but in this one, none of my guesses were correct. So, the surprise factor is definitely high.
The setting and background also contribute to the story. Almost all the characters in the book are people who were born and who grew up in a separated Germany, and they all bring their experiences and memories of the time the wall was broken down to the book. This is the first book I am reading that talks so much about the separation and then unification of Germany and its impact on people and this setting was super-intriguing.
Unfortunately, this is a James Patterson book – he who is the master of the 2-page 115 chapter books, and so I don’t think this book did this setting justice. With a little more depth and a little less clichéd ending, this book could have been very very nice indeed. In spite of these flaws though, the book is decent and it’s much better than some of the other books James Patterson has churned out of late.
I think I will keep an eye out for more Private books by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan.
Huge thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book to read and review.