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Private #1


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Former CIA agent Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe, for maximum force and maximum discretion. Already deep into the investigation of a multimillion-dollar NFL gambling scandal and the unsolved slayings of eighteen schoolgirls, he learns his best friend's wife, Jack's former lover, has been killed.

The secrets of the most influential men and women on the planet come to Jack daily—and his staff of investigators use the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases. But Jack doesn't have to play by the rules.

385 pages, Hardcover

First published May 27, 2010

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About the author

James Patterson

1,185 books339k followers
Official US Site
Official UK Site
JIMMY Patterson Books

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author. Among his creations are Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, and Maximum Ride. His #1 bestselling nonfiction includes Walk in My Combat Boots, Filthy Rich, and his autobiography, James Patterson by James Patterson. He has collaborated on novels with Bill Clinton and Dolly Parton and has won an Edgar Award, nine Emmy Awards, and the National Humanities Medal.

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5 stars
14,687 (29%)
4 stars
18,653 (36%)
3 stars
12,950 (25%)
2 stars
3,118 (6%)
1 star
1,032 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,022 reviews
Profile Image for Tulay.
1,202 reviews2 followers
August 31, 2017
Only good thing about this book that it was free. Listened while walking, typical James Patterson, last book I bought and read was more than ten years ago, that was the only book I paid. Short, short chapters, choppy. Murder, sex, NFL score fixing.
Profile Image for Bonnie Shores.
Author 1 book368 followers
March 8, 2018
I had gotten this audio book a while back as an Audible Daily Deal. I hadn't ever read anything by James Patterson and I figured that was the perfect opportunity to do so. My husband and I had to drive to Atlanta, so I chose this book, as I thought he'd enjoy it more than the paranormal fantasy stuff that I prefer. 😉


Holy complications, Batman! I've never read anything like this before.


This book was totally plot driven and moved at lightning speed. The main character is Jack Morgan, owner of Private, a renowned investigation company. He and his ace team of investigators, plus a forensic scientist, a psychiatrist, and a computer hacker have their hands full with the murder of Jack's best friend's wife (and Jack's former lover), an NFL gambling scandal, and the as yet unsolved serial killing of several local schoolgirls.

As if those three high profile cases weren't enough, Jack gets unintentionally entangled with The Mob, his twin brother comes around causing all kinds of trouble, and his girlfriend is looking for a commitment.


If you like gore-less crime mysteries, I highly recommend this one. It's fast-paced, interesting, and a little twisty in the end.
Profile Image for Sebastian.
122 reviews9 followers
August 6, 2013
Very good start and then it fizzles out.

At this point, it is clear that the Patterson collaborations are 100% written by the second author. Nevertheless, Paetro has done a good job with some of the books on the Women's Murder Club series (though she has also delivered some duds in that one). As a result, I had mixed feelings about whether to give this series a chance or not. When I started reading this book, I was feeling like I had made a great decision.

The set up for the story was very good, with an interesting main character, Jack Morgan, who has a complex past, an unusual private investigation agency, and some engaging characters. Then we get presented with the first case, involving the assassination of the wife of one of Jack's best friends and things keep looking up. When we find out about Jack's evil twin we can't help by read full speed ahead.

Sadly, then the problems start. We are given plot after plot, many of which have no real point when you consider what the main story is. I truly don't understand the need for doing this, which is something I have been noticing a lot in these Patterson collaborations lately. They create so many sub-plots that none of them gets the attention they deserve and we end up with a jumbled mess. This novel is no exception, after we read about the NFL case, the mob asking for stuff, the junkie brother, the serial killer of teenage girls, and the couples that want want to switch partners, we end up with quick shallow resolutions to each of the plots and are left wondering what the hell where the authors trying to achieve with all this.

There are no real surprises, no real thrills, and characters that had potential do not get properly developed. Overall, a total fiasco, so I recommend skipping this altogether.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,618 reviews12.8k followers
July 30, 2011
Apparently the start of a 'male-led' Women's Murder Club series. While some of the story outlines were interesting... too many to follow, making it hard to fucus on the central storyline.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,847 reviews16.3k followers
August 9, 2018
DNF at 30%.

I’ve never read a James Patterson book and Audible was giving this one away.

Beware freebies.

This was like some dumb melodrama you watch for 5 minutes while channel surfing. War veteran inherits a posh PI firm that caters to the very rich and powerful.

If this is Beverly Hills Private Investigations then I'd rather follow Axel Foley back to Detroit.


Profile Image for Mrs W.
7 reviews2 followers
October 11, 2010
Private is a book written by James Patterson (and Maxine Paetro) who is a well known author of crime thriller novels. Wow. Sorry James, but this is a really crappy book. The story line is all over the place, the characters are completely undeveloped and the “reveal” at the end is totally predictable. This was the first time (that I know of) that I read a book that has a “ghost writer”. That’s right people, the person who you thought wrote the book (ie. The person’s name written in big red block letters on the front cover, in this case, James Patterson) did not actually write the book. WTF, right? Some no name women, who ironically has a name, Maxine Paetro, wrote it but they stick James’s name on the front cover to sell it. Hey James, word to clearly unwise, before you agree to put your name on the front of book, written by some random chick, that you clearly did not read yourself (if you had, I doubt your name would be on the front) maybe you should get your head checked first. Good luck with this one!

This is one of those times that I’ve mentioned previously where I went into the library, and picked a random book up from the New Releases. Big Huge mistake.

Reading this book was, strangely, a lot like watching an episode (or couple at least all mushed into one) of Criminal Minds, CSI or Bones and the like. The whole thing revolves around this typical American guy, Jack, who is a veteran millionaire and who also owns and runs his own private investigation firm in LA where he dates movie stars and represents basically everyone who’s anyone in Hollywood. The story follows Jack and his team (which, funnily enough, includes the bird he’s screwing and the bird he used to screw) as they investigate crimes which include:

1. A group of psychotic gamers who spend their days in corporate jobs and their nights either enveloped in World of Warcraft or teenage girl killing sprees

2. Finding Jack’s best mate’s wife’s murderer

3. A game fixing scandal within the NFL of which Jack’s uncle happens to be a head honcho

Somewhere in there we are also dealing with Jack’s regular wartime nightmares, a prank caller who calls him every morning and says very ominously “You’re Dead”, his clearly unhinged identical twin brother AND with his commitment issues with the bird he’s screwing and his ultimate regret for dumping the girl he used to screw.


The writing itself is not bad, it is clear and concise and to the point but with so much going on in the story and a clearly unskilled writer, it was doomed to fail. It’s like when you’re a kid and you’re going to a carnival for the first time and you’re bombarded with so many colours and lights and you’re craning your neck in every direction trying to take it all in but never really focusing one particular thing... This is what it was like reading this book. I felt like the author randomly came up with a bunch of different ideas and decided to forcefully shove them all into one book. I have only one piece of advice for James or Maxine or whoever the hell wrote this damn book, focus on one main plot idea until you’re a good enough writer to focus on more than one.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
906 reviews164 followers
January 24, 2018
Pretty good. I enjoyed the characters and the plots. I think I will still read the Michael Bennett and Alex Cross series before continuing this series, but I will continue it. Love the character of Jack and his colleagues.

My quick and simple overall: only takes a few hours to read this book and is interesting enough to keep you reading in one sitting.
Profile Image for Beverly.
528 reviews33 followers
July 1, 2010
When reading reviews, particularly on Amazon, I’ve noticed a lot of complaints about how the Patterson books are written. As a reader, what I care about is the end result. I want a good story. Sometimes, Patterson’s formula works and sometimes it doesn’t. I enjoy The Women’s Murder Club series and the Alex Cross series (though I must admit, I’m behind on both series.) So far I’ve enjoyed the books written with (or some might say by) Maxine Paetro.

I found Private to be a good story. At first I was a little distracted by the different mysteries going on at the same time. However, once it occurred to me that a detective agency the size of Private would be involved with multiple cases, I found that I rather liked the bouncing between the cases. Private is a quick read. I found it to be a good example of what I think goes on in a large detective agency. I could be wrong, but who cares. I enjoyed the book and there are really only two reasons for reading a book – entertainment and/or information. Will this book win any awards? Probably not. Do I feel as though I wasted my time reading it? No. If you want a quick read, this is the book for you. If you care more about how the book is written than the end result, then find another book and another author.
Profile Image for Chelsey Connor.
282 reviews118 followers
January 12, 2016
This was my first crime book that I have read and absolutely loved it. I have loved watching crime and thought I would give reading crime a go. From the first chapter I was hooked. Private are a great team and get the job done. In this book they were working three major cases.
Profile Image for Angie Dokos.
Author 4 books223 followers
September 12, 2017
It was a good book. I enjoyed the story and liked the characters. It's not one of my favorite books, but it was worth reading.
Profile Image for Sebastien Castell.
Author 40 books4,061 followers
August 30, 2017
This is a difficult novel for me to review because a lot of my criticisms may be completely irrelevant to people who enjoy this kind of book. This was the first James Patterson novel I've read, and I'm mindful of the fact that my own opinions on the book are kind of irrelevant – he's got a legion of fans and they've already made up their minds on what they love and what they don't. So I'm going to point out what worked and didn't work for me, but if you're reaction to it is, "you're focusing on the wrong things! It's [insert story element here] that really matters!" then just know that you're probably right, but I just come at it from a different place.

Just a quick note here: I'm referring to James Patterson most of the time in terms of the general characteristics of his books, but of course this book was co-written with Maxine Paetro, so when I'm referring to Paterson it's about his general approach and the rest of the time I'm referring to the two of them.

Probably the most iconic aspect of Patterson's work is the lightning-fast pacing, and that's certainly true of Private. Things happen fast. Chapters are just a few pages long and there's not a lot of introspection. In fact, I found the scenes where there was some attempt at introspection felt a bit stiff and awkward – as if it's the illusion of emotional reflection without any genuine effort at it. But there's something incredibly powerful about that speed of pacing. I'd decided within a few chapters that I had fifteen things I didn't like about the book and yet it wasn't difficult to keep reading.

Another strength of the novel is that it holds nothing back: Patterson And Paetro deliver whatever would be the most exciting development next rather than bowing to either faux realism or saving stuff for subsequent books. To me that's a brave way to write: leaving it all out on the field and having to count on your creativity to come up with material for the next books.

So given all that, what was it I didn't like about the book? Everything else. The main character, Jack Morgan, is an ex-military pilot whose incredibly handsome, incredibly physically capable, every woman in the book loves him (and he's slept with a rather unnerving number of co-workers and wives of friends), while still being given the sheen of nobility. Oh, and he owns the worlds most prestigious private investigations firm with offices in every cool place you can think of. Also, the police – far from being antagonistic – actually hire Morgan's firm to help on the most exciting and dangerous cases.

One thing I found truly odd about the book was the number of storylines running through it. Morgan's dealing with four different cases, none of which are really narratively or thematically related, and so it's all kind of rushed (the book just shy of 80,000 words).

Finally, for me as a reader the prose felt stilted. Economical prose – writing that avoids the ten-dollar words or infinitely long sentences – is great, but I didn't actually find the prose transparent so much as simplistic. Things get described that don't seem to need it and other things get so glossed over as to feel meaningless to me.

Despite all that, I finished the book. I enjoyed the loose ends being tied up and some hints of future events are given that imply lots of conflict ahead. I can imagine a lot of readers really enjoying Patterson and Paetro's book for its readability and pacing. But for me, it felt like everything took the cheap and easy route, delivering trope after trope in an almost random order. I've no doubt Patterson and Paetro are talented writers who could deliver whatever style they wanted to, but this particular approach doesn't grab me as a reader.
Profile Image for Erth.
3,377 reviews
April 22, 2021
I thought that it was really good reading. There was more than one story going, but yet it was easy to follow. Not sure how much of it was actually written by Patterson, but it was still pretty good.
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,844 reviews420 followers
January 10, 2016
'Private' is the first novel of a mystery series starring Jack Morgan, ex-Marine helicopter pilot, who now is the owner of a large private detective company with offices everywhere. Morgan guides a crack team of support staff - a scientist, a psychiatric profiler, a punk-styling computer expert, a pack of neurotic detectives - who work for mostly rich Los Angeles people, including movie stars and prosecutors. The office building in which he works has equipment and labs NASA would envy, enabling his company to perform its own forensics.

Morgan is haunted by Afghan war experiences and injuries, an evil twin, emotional scars from an abusive imprisoned father now dead, partial amnesia from a war incident, and an inability to be intimate with a string of disappointed beautiful lovers. However, Jack feels an almost unbreakable loyalty to childhood friends and wartime buddies which can lead him to ignore whatever rules or laws he must to help them.

The various cases the detective team begin working on in this novel are familiar to every living person on earth who regularly watches broadcast television, whatever the country (since almost all nations show old American one-hour drama TV series from the 1970's and 1980's). There is the serial killing of 13-year-old girls. There is the murder of a wife of an old buddy. There is the friend with a gambling problem. There is an infamous brothel, patronized by famous men, linked to a mafia. There are mafia 'dons' and hitmen. There is the fixed football game. There are various linking wives and ex-wives and girlfriends, passed around between politicians, lawyers, police detectives as sisters, daughters and lovers.

If dull uninspired television shows which recycle the same three scripts over and over feel like a glass of warm milk in the tummy to you, welcoming because you hate surprises or anything unexpected while reclining sleepily with your tv snack-tray nearby, this novel is a perfect read. The book's characters are all one-dimensional stereotypes and the stock-footage subplots have been in every ensemble police and legal drama show which the American broadcast networks have always shown when they were selecting safe primetime hits. Wit or sparkly personalities - neither of which, gentle reader, exist within these pages, in my humble opinion - will not threaten any reader who needs a comfy unvaried unimaginative detective story before bedtime.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,505 reviews738 followers
May 29, 2020
Typical Patterson page-turner, yet with enough grip, to make me still want to know what happens in the end. Private Investigations, owned and run by former US Marine, Jack Morgan, has three simultaneous cases… nationwide undermining of the American Football NFL, the murder of one of Jack's friends and a pro-bono case for the State, trying to discover the perpetrator(s) of a two year murdering spree, so far of 12 teenage women. 4 out of 12. I rated this 4 out of 12 after rereading as well!
Profile Image for Edit.
14 reviews1 follower
October 26, 2016
I don't care who wrote it, I couldn't put it down. OK, sometimes I had to sleep and work. :) And I had no problem with all the stories going on in the book, because all af them were interesting and all of them were solved as well. And I don't need weeks to read a book, so I always knew who was who and what was happening.
I think I try another Private one.
Profile Image for Brandy.
356 reviews37 followers
December 27, 2018
So, the Private series is much like the Woman’s murder club series, hence why I had to pick up book two for the Private series. I enjoyed the first one, we shall see if book two wets my whistle as much as the first ! Four stars for #1.
Profile Image for Eric.
369 reviews55 followers
May 17, 2018
As far as private eye books go, Private takes a different approach. You won't find the boozing PI with a shabby office located in Hell's Kitchen. Private is a firm that caters to the rich and famous. Jack Morgan is the boss man of this highly sophisticated crime outfit that employs top notch experts and a crime lab that is better equipped than the police departments. Jack doesn't buzz around town in a beat up junker. He drives a Lamborghini (aka Lambo). The narrator
does a decent job for a story that is a mismash of different stereotypes.

The characters are reasonably drawn albiet somewhat shallow. Jack, the main character, is an Afghanistan war veteran that suffers from untreated PTSD. He manages to sleep around with women in the office and they don't seem to mind. There is an interesting supporting cast of characters. Emilio Cruz served with Jack in the marines. Emilio is kind of the department bad-ass. Justine is the company's forensic pychiatrist and ex-lover. Colleen is Jack's personal assistant and current lover. Jack has a problematic twin brother who is a gambling addict. The list goes on.

The story covers a friend's murder, serial killer, rigged betting on NFL games, Jack's demons and his complicated relationships. While the mystery parts of story are pretty good, the rest of it is kind of hokey. The story thankfully moves along at a good pace.

Here's a story that rates good on entertainment value. It unfolds much like a TV mystery show. Still fun but not not a lot of depth.
Profile Image for Sue.
1,315 reviews5 followers
September 10, 2011
Another great book by James Patterson, "Private".Former CIA agent Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe. It is where you go when you need maximum force and maximum discretion. The secrets of the most influential men and women on the planet come to Jack daily--and his staff of investigators uses the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases.

Jack is already deep into the investigation of a multi-million dollar NFL gambling scandal and the unsolved slayings of 18 schoolgirls when he learns of a horrific murder close to home: his best friend's wife, Jack's former lover, has been killed. It nearly pushes him over the edge. Instead, Jack pushes back and devotes all of Private's resources to tracking down her killer.

Only one place to turn: Private

But Jack doesn't have to play by the rules. As he closes in on the killer and chooses between revenge and justice, Morgan has to navigate a workplace love affair that threatens to blow the roof off his plans. With a plot that moves at death-defying speeds, Private is James Patterson sleekest, most exciting thriller ever.

Excellent book...can't wait to read more of his books.
Profile Image for Maria.
920 reviews102 followers
May 7, 2013
À medida que vou lendo mais livros de James Patterson, mais fico rendida à sua obra. Este é o segundo policial que leio e confesso ter gostado mais da personagem Jack do que propriamente do Alex Cross de outra série.

Jack é um ex-fuzileiro que se dedica actualmente a investigar casos, estando ao comando da empresa Private - Agência Internacional de Investigação, herdada do pai, um antigo criminoso. Contrariamente ao pai, que tinha uma relação directa com o crime organizado e com a máfia, Jack quer que a Private seja uma empresa exemplar e muda radicalmente o conceito e os clientes.

Opinião completa: http://marcadordelivros.blogspot.pt/2...
Profile Image for Joanne.
701 reviews16 followers
April 6, 2021
I ended up enjoying this more than I thought. It is the kind of book you can read and not have to follow to closely. The mystery was quite good and I actually didn't see the end coming. This is the first and a new series and I will be going on with the next book.
44 reviews
May 26, 2013
The latest series of Patterson starring an ex-marine named Jack Morgan the leader of an ultra-high end private investigation firm. I gave this book 2 stars, it is an easy read with the plot going back and forth between three different cases and few personal situations. Now having three different cases in one novel can be a two edged sword, in one hand it will keep the readers form getting bored with every few pages showing a different story line but it can also and in the other it might keep the readers and author from truly getting in depth with the story. Personally i prefer having just one case but making it an engaging one so that the readers won't get bored. This is the first book so I'm planning to read the second one to see how the series will go. Few observation with the story - It seems that the authors spend so much time telling you that Private is ultra-high end by the middle of the novel i feel like screaming that 'yes I get it they are high end and they are the best at what they do' And second Jack Morgan is a womanizer, in just the first book he has three ex-girlfriends. He is definitely a womanizer but in a boring way because he has to be the nice guy. With so many cases going on they can't go in depth with his relationship with his family i just hope they can get more into that i the later books. In the end this is the book for you if you are looking for an easy weekend read, it will help you pass the time but won't give you any emotional ride roller coaster or otherwise.
Profile Image for Kristen Dutkiewicz.
Author 8 books10 followers
December 30, 2019
Swing and a miss.

I had a feeling when I first started Private about investigator Jack Morgan, I probably would not become very attached to this one.

And unfortunately I was right.

The plot line never picked up speed for me, and for some reason was somewhat hard to follow. No real likable characters, and I was kind of left feeling blah at the ending.

I’ll try another James Patterson book one day.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,084 reviews192 followers
January 29, 2015
A very well written novel of intrigue by this master, though I could have done with less personal drama in the life of the main charactor. That aside, the other plots are well crafted and handled expertly. 9 of 10 stars
16 reviews1 follower
September 25, 2015
This book was a thriller for sure. It was interesting, exciting, and best of all, it never was boring! Although this is made for more mature people, I would recommend this book to all people. Most anyone would love this book, it includes mysteries, murders, drama, and lots of action. READ THIS!!!!!
Profile Image for Magpie67.
895 reviews99 followers
August 25, 2017
Loved, simply loved this book! Loved the action and the fast pace of the office as the team worked three cases. Each character is brilliant in their own way and I look forward to meeting up with them as I continue this series. Stunning voice too.... Mr. Peter Herman delivered the audio perfectly. He definitely could purr into my ear all day....
Profile Image for Colleen Foster.
86 reviews123 followers
January 6, 2022
I loved every part of this book. When it comes to mystery and not being able to figure out a book. This is it. This book has all types of twists and turns. This book kept me on my feet the whole time I was reading it. This book will not disappoint you at all.
Profile Image for Ines Jlaiel.
74 reviews13 followers
January 7, 2022
This is my first novel by this author and im actually so fucking disappointed and furious! The story wasn’t that good to be honest. And it didn’t feel like reada novel, it felt like reading a script from a movie.. i still have other novels by this author and im going to give him another shot!

1,100 reviews22 followers
October 7, 2010
First of all, look at the author names on the book cover. I guess Mr. Patterson was unhappy with his coauthor the day he approved the art, but her name is very subtle at the bottom of the book.

Second, I think they have overdosed on Dirk Pitt, Stone Barrington and Secret Agent 007 with their depiction of Jack Morgan and his protection/private detective agency, Private. Resurrected from his worthless father's defunct company with $15,000,000 in stolen money dad gave Jack shortly before dying in prison.

Finally, I think the authors would have done better to concentrate on one story. The other two stories could have been background noise to make a better tale of just one. I would have preferred the schoolgirl killers be fleshed out more. They were pretty one dimensional, and yet with their own design cutting edge technology they lured at least 14 sharp young women to their deaths. At any rate, once someone started looking hard at them, their secrecy fell apart like wet cardboard.

This could have been so much more if it were honed to read like the BTK Strangler mentioned in this novel, or the Green River killer in Green River Running Red. Perhaps Mr. Patterson needs to go back to providing more quality in his books instead of publishing one a week, like his TV show.

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