The Games by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Four years ago, Patterson put out a Private novel centered around the London Olympics. Now I'm thinking Private Games was the first in a pattern, and that there will be more Olympic-themed Private books every four years.
Based on the example of Private Games and this book with the oddly similar title (I'm a little mystified as to why they changed it from Private Rio), Patterson's right on point with the timely Olympic-themed terrorist-thriller plots. This book may return to the same basic theme as Private Games, but it puts forth its own unique twists, dipping into Rio's unique culture - a mix of beautiful beaches and favelas with their own social systems - and adding a bioterror element that seems more than a little on the nose in the wake of the Zika virus epidemic. (The virus in this book, however, is less Zika and more Ebola, and unusually deadly too because of its multi-headed nature, hence the name "Hydra.") The bioterror is only a small part of a deadly plot to expose rampant corruption in Rio, with the criminals drawing some noticeable parallels to Ancient Rome. As a result, unusually for a Patterson book, you actually want to root for the bad guys, if only a little.
Maybe it's a little far-fetched that every single Olympics will be targeted by terrorists without fail, but if they are, we can trust the Jack Morgans of the world to take care of business.
If the pattern holds, we can expect to see the release of Private Tokyo in 2020. For sure, I'll be eagerly awaiting that book.
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