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Saturday, April 01, 2023

Whenever I think of summer reading I remember ignoring whatever classic American novel I was supposed to be reading for the next year’s English class and reading fun fast-paced whodunits and the historical novels that you always hide the cover of because it’s embarrassing to admit that you read those kinds of books.

Don’t get me wrong; I love delving into Brontë (Charlotte, not Emily) and Austen. But sometimes, especially over summer when you’re fighting to stay awake as you read a book on the beach or by the pool, you just want something you can follow somewhat mindlessly like a TV show.

James Patterson and Mark Pearson’s “Private London,” is just such a summer read.

“Private London,” is actually one in a series of books which I didn’t know when I picked it up. You don’t have to have read the others to follow the book. The book follows Dan Carter, head of the London division of the world’s most prestigious detective agency, Private. Private is owned by the powerful Jack Morgan. Dan is charged with protecting young student Hannah Shapiro as she leaves the U.S. to study psychiatry in London. Hannah was saved by Jack only eight years before when she and her mother were kidnapped and Hannah was forced to watch as her mother was brutally murdered. Hannah is trying to start a new life in England. But the trouble that followed her in America seems to have crossed the Atlantic with her.

One night, while out with friends, Hannah is kidnapped and her friends injured. With Jack tied up in a federal investigation in the U.S., it’s up to Dan to find and save Hannah. As the search goes on, the kidnappers’ threats toward Hannah begin to escalate.

Meanwhile, Dan’s ex-wife Kirsty Webb is a DI with London’s Metropolitan Police. Bodies are being found mutilated in odd ways and after consulting with Dan, Kirsty thinks her serial killer may somehow be linked to Hannah Shapiro’s kidnapping.

The book’s cover touts the killer in this book as the scariest since Jack the Ripper. Sorry to disappoint, but it really wasn’t that scary. Maybe after all the crime shows and books I’ve read it takes a little more to frighten me but I didn’t find this serial killer to be particularly gruesome. Actually, I’ve seen worse on “CSI: Miami.” The book does have an unexpected ending which I did like but it also felt hurried. The chapters range from one to five pages which makes reading it feel fast-paced. I found the resolution of the serial murders to be a little fuzzy; it wasn’t well-explained.  All in all, it is good as a summer read but I don’t have any interest in reading the rest of the series. 

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