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on September 7, 2014
Hard to believe this is the fifth installment that I've read in Patterson's Private series, and nothing here has changed my opinion that this is the best series he and his various partners are serving up (this one is co-written with Michael White). It's also easy to read; I polished the whole thing off in one day of spare time (admittedly on a Saturday when college football games dominated the TV and I was able to keep one eye on my Kindle Fire and the other on the action). I'll also point out that the last 12% is a three-chapter preview of Burn, the next in his Michael Bennett series that I believe is scheduled for publication Sept. 29, 2014.

For those who don't know, Private is a high-tech, highly successful investigation agency with offices all over the world (hence Private Berlin, Private L.A., etc. In this one, Craig Cristo has formed a new office in Sydney, Australia, with the help of the drop-dead gorgeous and highly experienced Justine, who also happens to be the main squeeze of Jack Morgan, founder/owner of Private. As they throw a big bash to kick off the opening, a young Asian man - complete with bullet holes and a few missing body parts - stumbles onto the scene (pretty much putting the kabosh on the party spirit).

As it turns out, it may have been a kidnapping gone awry, and the man's father (who hates the police) believes it's related to the lucrative world of imported drugs and wants Private to do their thing. That gives the new company some serious business, but as if that weren't enough, a friend of the New South Wales Police Department, turns up brutally murdered. That investigation leads to the discovery that she's not the first - nor is she the last, since more murders start happening in fairly rapid succession.

As with the others in the series, this one is relatively predictable and won't challenge anyone's gray matter - making it perfect for reading on the beach, by a cozy fire or, as in my case, cheering on "my" Ohio State University Buckeyes (and in any case, preferably with a glass of wine in hand).
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on August 2, 2013
I love the Private Series....this is one of the very best series James Patterson has written. Was hooked on the Alex Cross books, but now can't wait for this new series to be published. Enjoy it more than any other books he writes. Excellent stories that keep you entertained to the very last page!
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on August 30, 2014
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review. Private Down Under by James Patterson and Michael White is a great thriller with lots of action and adventure. All the Private agency books have numerous twists and turns and this book is no exception. I have been a fan of Patterson books for many years and enjoy each addition to his growing list of best sellers.

This new branch called Private Sydney opens in Australia and has the best detectives in the business, cutting edge technology and offices around the globe, there is no investigation company quite like Private. The Sydney gala is broken up by a horrific murder which the Private group begins investigating. Craig Gisto and his new team have hardly even met one another yet when an Asian man, bloody and shot, staggers into the party which looks like a kidnapping and turns out to be something a whole lot more. Before they even get settled in and officially open their doors, they are in the center of several murder investigations.

Within just days the agency's caseload is full. A horrific murder in the well-heeled Eastern suburbs and the frantic search for motives stretches the team to the limit. Stacy Friel, friend of the Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, isn't the killer's first victim and as the body count mounts she's clearly not going to be the last.

The team must use every bit of skill and technology that the agency has available to them and also with the assistance of the NSW Police to catch a serial killer before another victim dies. With two additional cases requiring their attention and solved everyone’s hands are full. And this is only the first week of the agency’s opening!

The book had lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end. With lots of action and adventure this is a book that will hold your attention and make you want to read more about Private Sydney and the people who work there. I gave this book a five star rating because it is that good and I am looking forward to another one from this series. I highly recommend this book to all James Patterson fans and anyone who loves a whodunit. Trust me you will love this book!
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on September 11, 2014
"Her beauty totally dwarfed the beauty of the view." That groaner pretty much sums up the poor writing throughout the book. No, wait. One more example (and there are many) deserves special mention. The main character, upon observing the small children of a murdered woman, described this event as being "super sucky." Add in poor character development, boring action and more superficial dialogue and you have, well, a sucky novel. This book would not have seen the light of day without Patterson's clout.
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on March 8, 2015
I agree with another reviewer: One star is being generous. The characters are insipid; bland; boring and not original. The dialogue is so stupid as to induce cringes. There are a couple of scenes in the book where I wanted to scream when I read them. One was a description of the hero's car accident, wherein he climbs out of the wrecked car and is given the forensic report on the other driver. Really? How fascinating. I know things happen slowly here in the states with regard to crime scene investigation, but to find out that the Aussies can gin up a forensic report AT THE SCENE is positively embarrassing.

Another scene which doesn't pass muster: one of Private's richie-rich clients (are there any other types?) is being threatened with a very sharp object, and is being held down by the assailant. The Private detectives burst in, and then just STAND THERE. Doing nothing. Watching. In fact, the narrative goes like this "...and Johnny and Darlene realized the best thing they could do was nothing." Holy carp! If I am paying these dolts tons of money, and I am being threatened with being filleted like, well, a carp, I would hope my 'protectors' would do SOMETHING, except watch. A final scene that begs credulity... the perpetrator of the main crimes is holding a VIP at knife point. The cops are behind her, about 10 feet, guns drawn. She doesn't know they are they there. Do they shoot? Do they act like cops in any way? NO! They simply stand there, too!

This was an ignorant story written by a lame-brain. Do NOT waste your money or time on this dreck. BAD, BAD, HORRIBLE!
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on September 18, 2013
This book was another fantastic Patterson read. The Private agency books always have multiple twists and turns and this book is no exception. Looking forward to the next "private adventure!w
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on August 31, 2014
I have read every Private book and I didn't want to put them down once I started reading them except for Down Under. Usually if I have to put them down I can hardly wait to get back to them. But it took me forever to read Down Under. I just never got into the story. I don't know why. Maybe it was the fact that Jack was in all the others and he nevmmer made an appearance in this book. Mr Patterson normally writes thrilling books. I found this one to be boring......................
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on September 8, 2014
The Private experience gets better and better. Private, as envisioned by James Patterson, is the most important investigative and security agency in the world. CEO Jack Morgan is the very much hands-on founder of Private, which is based in Los Angeles and has branch offices in all of the world’s hot spots. The potential for stories is limitless; London and Berlin already have been featured, with promises of more and other exotic locales (did someone say India?) on the way. For the moment, however, the latest installment is PRIVATE DOWN UNDER, in which Patterson has teamed up with Australian thriller author Michael White to give readers one of the most exciting installments of the series to date.

PRIVATE DOWN UNDER begins on the eve of the opening of Private’s latest office, located in Sydney, Australia. The man at the helm of Private Sydney is Craig Gisto, who had managed his own very successful PI agency for several years before being tapped by Morgan to establish an Australian beachhead for the company. His capabilities are matched only by his confidence in himself. As we soon learn, though, Gisto is no stranger to personal tragedy, given that his wife and young son were killed by a drunk driver a few years ago. It is also revealed that his rival for his late wife’s affection during their courtship was none other than his cousin, Mark Talbot, who still carries a grudge. That Talbot is a Sydney police inspector doesn’t help matters for Gisto either professionally or personally.

Gisto and Talbot find themselves at loggerheads almost from the first page of PRIVATE DOWN UNDER. The party that commemorates the launch of Private Sydney is rudely interrupted by a bloody murder. The victim, who staggers into the middle of the soiree, is a young Asian man who is the son of Ho Meng, a very wealthy importer-exporter who is engaged in a struggle against a ruthless gang affiliated with The Triad. When Meng refused to knuckle under, even after his son was kidnapped, the gang decided to deliver a message. Meng, who is very unhappy with the local police force, retains Private to obtain justice for his son. At the same time, a wealthy rock star who appears to be on the downward side of his career retains Private to protect him when it appears that his manager is planning to kill him in order to give his back catalog a sales boost from the resultant publicity.

If those cases were not enough, Private quickly finds itself aiding in the investigation of a series of grisly and frightening murders that are taking place in Sydney’s fashionable east end. Someone is killing the wives of the rich and very rich, and not even trying to be subtle about it. Private Sydney has more than enough work to keep it busy for its first week of operation. But will it, and its founder, survive long enough to see a second week? That is the question, among many others, that will keep readers turning pages from beginning to end.

As should be obvious by now, there are enough plots to fill three novels. However, Patterson and White keep their story lines from getting tangled even as the reader feels compelled to move as quickly as possible from one scenario to the next. The personal entanglements and drama of the principals, particularly Gisto’s, nicely balance the darkness of the crimes that Private Sydney investigates, so that the occasionally graphic violence that is part and parcel to the crimes involved is offset by a bit of passion here and there, unrequited and otherwise. One can only hope that Patterson and White will revisit the offices of Private Sydney in short order.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
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on September 4, 2014
Ordinarily James Patterson is one of my favorite authors and the Private series is one of my favorites
but this one seem not to have as much substance as his other Private books and seemed
a little more contrived. Enjoyable reading however.
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on February 12, 2015
I almost gave up on this book at Chapter 9 (out of 113 - for a 345 page book, or an average of 3 pages per chapter!), but mistakenly thought there must be a twist. I was wrong.

Chapter 8, Craig is driving "roof down on the old Porsche convertible"
Chapter 9, there is a wreck "My car had rolled and ended up driver's side to the tarmac"..."Next thing I knew I was clambering through the passenger window. The buckled window frame and remnants of glass were cutting me open". The police arrive and "He lifted a thin, beige folder into view. 'Preliminary forensics report. The driver died on impact'"

So, to escape, he climbs up through the car (even though a convertible), out the window frame (frameless doors?), to be greeted by a forensics report on the other driver.
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