cover image Private Berlin

Private Berlin

James Patterson and Mark Sullivan. Little, Brown, $27.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-316-21117-8

The brave efforts of the heroes alternate with the sadistic musings of the bad guy in Patterson's formulaic fifth thriller centered on the global investigations firm known as Private (after 2012's Private London), this one written with Sullivan (Rogue). Private operative Chris Schneider comes to Berlin on personal leave to confront a demon from his past, only to become its latest victim. When Schneider fails to show up for work and no one can reach him, his ex-fianc%C3%A9e, Mattie Engel, who's still a Private colleague, agrees that his tracking device should be activated. This leads to a grisly discovery in an abandoned slaughterhouse in a wooded area outside Berlin. The mask-wearing psycho behind Schneider's death, who calls himself the Invisible Man and revels in the pain others, shares a familiar origin story in which a warped relationship with his mother is the cause of his savagery. Readers should be prepared for some things that don't make a lot of sense (e.g., at one point Engel admires a colleague for connecting a suspect with another person who has the suspect's first name as his middle name and his middle name as his first) and the usual stock characters. (Jan.)