Book Review – Private Berlin


by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan (Century) ISBN: 9781780890180

Mathilde ‘Mattie’ Engel, a private investigator at a prestigious international agency in Berlin, is a single mother dedicated to her career. When her fiancé Chris goes missing, she is thrown into a harrowing mystery that will unravel the city’s dark communist past and unmask a sadistic killer.

From the moment Mattie finds a graveyard of bones in the subbasement of an abandoned slaughter house, to secrets she learns in a crumbling orphanage in the country side, she realises how shockingly identities changed after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Some for the better. Some for the worse.

This novel is not only a nail-biting suspense story that will keep you glued to the pages, it is also a wonderful evocation of modern Berlin and a fascinating history lesson into its haunted past. The descriptions are so vivid you feel like you are right there in the streets, brothels, apartments and mansions of this scarred and beautiful city.

Some of James Patterson’s other thrillers have seem contrived and implausible. While the villain of this novel is a bit over the top, the rest of the narrative has great authenticity. The romantic subplot could’ve been dropped, but other than that it was a terrific read.

Anthony Ehlers
4/5