THE NOVELS about global detective agency Private are to my mind the best series from top thriller writer James Patterson.

While just as fast-moving as the Women's Murder Club, Alex Cross and Michael Bennett novels, they are given greater depth by their international settings.

Not only does Patterson and his chosen co-writer – often a native of the particular country – evoke some of the atmosphere of the setting, but they use themes and subject matter specific to that country.

The latest, Private Moscow, is the first Private outing for couple of years, but it's been well worth the wait.

The story begins in New York, however, as the dashing series hero Jack Morgan, boss of Private, attends a Stock Exchange launch by a billionaire buddy who he served with in the Marines.

Within a couple of minutes the old comrade is dead, and Jack is chasing the assassin through the streets of Manhattan. Within a couple of days he's encountered the assassin again, and realises he's scratching the surface of a deadly conspiracy.

Meanwhile the team from Private's Moscow office, stuck in a far less glamorous HQ than their US counterparts, commissioned by an oligarch to discover who has blown up his friend in a bar.

It's soon obvious the two cases are connected, and after arriving in a snow-covered Moscow, Jack finds himself under suspicion and forced to hide amongst the Russian underworld.

As always in a Patterson novel there's lots of action and plot turns as Jack tries to discover the secrets that unite the murder victims as he gets tangled up in the murky world of espionage.

Private Moscow will be released on September 3.

David Knights