Newest addition to Private series is page-turning thriller

Anne Yoskoski, Managing Editor

The newest addition to the ‘Private’ series by James Patterson, co-written with Mark Sullivan, is a page-turning, chill-inducing thriller.

Chris Schneider is missing and it is up to his former fiancé, Mattie Engel, to find him.

In the classic Patterson style the reader will find tragedy, romance and fast paced pursuits.

All of these scenes are quickly cut together in chapters, with random chapters thrown in from the elusive suspect.

As someone who has read all of the ‘Private’ novels, I am used to reading about terrifying situations from the point of the killer.

In ‘Private: Berlin,’ though, Patterson and Sullivan have stepped up their game.

This villain actually made my skin crawl.

Although I knew things weren’t going well when the first stop was an abandoned slaughterhouse in Berlin, I wasn’t prepared for the character of the killer to be so well developed that he had unique traits and mannerisms.

Somewhat similar to the villain in ‘Private: London,’ this villain has dealt with children, and has no problem disposing of anyone who gets in his way.

This chase is a departure, in a sense, from the high-technology motif usually present in ‘Private’ novels.

This killer has to be traced back to Berlin before the wall fell, taking every Berliner back to a time of utter turmoil in the country filled with bombings, secret police forces, and the memories of the thousands who were never found.

Obviously this isn’t a bed time story, but the historical facts make it an interesting, albeit creepy, read. Some sections made my eyes glaze over, and others made the hair on my arms stand up. Patterson and Sullivan need to look at their formula and remove the trite romance. While the readers end up liking Mattie’s new boyfriend by the end, the story of their relationship practically writes itself. It also becomes obvious that Mattie’s young son will be contingent on her safety, and who couldn’t predict that she would offer the ultimate sacrifice to save her child?

The twist that Patterson and Sullivan added was shocking even to an avid Patterson reader. There is no way to explain it without giving it away.

The fast pace made it easy to read in one long sitting. Patterson fans will still be slightly surprised with other twists to the new formula.