Olympic Reading

August 10, 2012

You could call me a snob, but that's neither the noun I think is most suitable, nor the most polite! I confess that predominantly I read works in the canon, classics, or literary renowned novels. Now there are several reasons: I have a penchant for 18th-19th Century literature, and prefer them to the writing styles of many modern novels, (obviously this is a huge generalisation); and secondly, I suppose I like to know I'm reading something of quality that is intellectually challenging. However, I would like to think I'm open to giving most texts a try, given that they all serve different purposes. I might well prefer the works of Austen and Brontë, but is that just because I know they're highly acclaimed?
My Dad came to me with a book recommendation which was topical, and whilst I would never have picked it up, I thought it was worth a try.

James Patterson's 'Private Games'
From the title you may well have inferred that it relates to the Olympic Games and is a detective style story. Incidentally I spent last week working at the Olympics, unfortunately the book wasn't particularly comforting in light of this.

The novel follows a detective whose aim it is to discover who is behind the calculated and shocking murder of a member of the Games committee on the eve of the Olympics. The person responsible for the murder, and with the ultimate aim of sabotaging the 2012 Olympics, calls themselves 'Cronus' and systematically carries out his plan with a subsequent explanation given as to the reason for his victims' guilt. He/she targets Olympic officials and athletes, under the explanation that he/she  is rooting out the evil and corruption in the modern olympics and attempting to restore the Olympics to their ancient glory. We spend our time hoping that the person attempting to destroy the Games is caught, the lives of innocent victims saved, and the motives behind this terrorism, revealed.

My thoughts

The chapters are very short, and the novel is fairly rapidly paced with a lot of action, but simultaneously a quantity of anticipation and tension.
Seeing into the mind of the deranged Cronus was interesting, although I ultimately thought that his motive was weak, far-fetched, and a bit unrealistic- in essence the link to the Olympics was a little tenuous. 

I didn't dislike the book, but that was primarily due to the context of it. Being at the Games it felt more alive than it might have done otherwise, and I enjoyed imagining the buildings I walked past in jeopardy, (not in a crazy psychotic way.)
Embarassingly I must confess that I did not identify the killer, 'Cronus', but all the same I was irritated by Patterson's constant attempt to convince me it was someone that it obviously wasn't.
Ultimately, and as aforementioned, the book was very unrealistic: from Knight's children's premature development, to the ending. The ending was terrible. I re-read the fatality to check that I hadn't missed anything, but honestly the most unlikely death in the history of fiction.

For me the book was good in light of the Olympics- a pleasant read, but nothing extraordinary.

In other news. Spending time in the Olympic Park and watching the hockey was very enjoyable. The atmosphere was incredible, despite being drenched in the first 10minutes then exiting accompanied by a slightly pink nose- oh the joys of the British weather! It was heart-warming to see Britain successfully hosting and participating in the Games, (despite Patterson's prophecy, as well as Team GB coming together in support.. more from my time in London to follow


  1. I forgot to tag anyone at the bottom of the post - I tag you! I think if you write a blog called 'Diary of a Tea-Drinking Book Lover' then you are literally the most perfect person to fill it in!

    And thank you for leading me to your blog, I will have a lovely Sunday afternoon perusing your posts :)

  2. Yaay well now I'm legitimately tagged I'll be sure to go ahead :)
    Aww that's very kind. I came across your blog a few days ago, then lost it, and was desperately searching for it this morning