James Patterson and Rees Jones
Review: Karen Watkins
This action novel starts out with former American marine Jack Morgan co-piloting a Gulfstream from Europe across the English Channel and the white cliffs of Dover to London.
Morgan is head of the world’s foremost investigation agency. In previous books in the Private series, he lives a life involving private jets and beach houses, and he keeps turning up around the world just as the poo is about to hit the fan.
In this 14th Private title, he lets the other pilot land the jet as he studies the printed email in his hand, trying to figure out whether the invitation has come from a friend.
Although Colonel Marcus de Villiers, a Coldstream Guard in the British Army, is no enemy, he is the head of security for one of the most important families on Earth.
Morgan is whisked away in a Range Rover to a Georgian farmhouse in the Surrey countryside to meet a member of this family, Princess Caroline, who is third in line to the British throne.
Skill and discretion are needed when Morgan is hired to uncover what has happened to the princess’s bosom buddy who has mysteriously disappeared.
As Morgan travels from Wales to the Tower of London, and through the sprawling underground warren of tunnels, staircases, barriers, carriages and escalators thronging with thousands of people, in his quest to prevent a royal scandal, he soon realises the princess is hiding something and that there is more to this case than he is being told. The closer he gets to uncovering the truth, the more he realises there are powerful people who will stop at nothing to keep this missing person from being found.
During his sleuthing, he meets up with an old flame who becomes a distraction as the plot thickens and the situation becomes dangerous.
The characters are likeable, and we learn how they made the decision to serve, be it in the Marine Corps, police force or army.
Even though they are out of uniform now, each has chosen a life that puts others’ needs before their own.
In the second half, there is much violence and gore, which could be off-putting for some. The plot is good, but nothing extraordinary and there ae a few surprises. The writing is naïve and lacks finesse.
On the good side, the chapters are brief and the story is fast-paced and entertaining.