Title : Private India
Author : Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Publishers : Arrow Books
Genre : Fiction ( Crime Thriller)
Number of Pages: 470
About the book
In Mumbai, seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses.
For Santosh Wagh, Head of Private India, The Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency; it’s a race against time to stop the killer striking again.
In a city of over thirteen million, he’d have his work cut out at the best of times, but this case has him battling Mumbai’s biggest gang lord and a godman who isn’t all he seems.
And then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organization- along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens…
The idea of reading a murder mystery co-authored by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson excited me enough to pick up this book, yet I must admit that it wasn’t at all what I had expected it to be. The story meanders about at a slow pace for the first few chapters of the book, picking up speed as it moves into the second half, but there are a few speed breakers along the way making the ride a little bumpy.
The prologue brought back painful memories of the bomb blasts in Mumbai, my precious birth city. Although I wasn’t in Mumbai when the blasts had taken place, my parents and siblings were and I had cried on the phone while talking about the sad and tragic events that had destroyed so many lives and scarred even more innocent lives.
The description of Mumbai, Bombay to me filled me with nostalgia. I could visualize Santosh walking down from Crawford Market to Regal cinema, I could also picture him strolling on the vibrant Colaba causeway.
What I liked about the story was the twist in the last few chapters and the joining of dots at the end of the story. The large Font size made it easier to read and gave it a clean look. The highlight of the story for me was the scene at the Tower of Silence, extremely gripping and engaging, really a great piece of writing. The story’s ending also was a surprise and totally unexpected.
The character whose complexity best appealed to me in this story was that of Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, Mumbai branch. His personality is a mix of vulnerability and strength, his sensitivity and remorse at his actions were very touching and moved me beyond words. At some places I could feel his anguish and sympathized with him when his demons emotionally tortured him.
What I questioned Some logical concerns I had while reading the story were related to the working of the police department and their liberal behaviour towards a private agency while investigating a crime. Even though it is a work of fiction yet the casual manner in which the police let the private agency manage the investigation was difficult for me to imagine and accept.
The logic behind the extremely short chapters with their first three words in capital letters eluded me. The chapters ended even before they began and it hindered the flow of the story for me, flipping through pages every minute or so added to the distraction. I wish the writers had just gone the old fashioned way of writing a story and letting the readers decide when to take a break from reading it. The characters were not very well defined and they didn’t all grow on me, I read their thoughts and actions but didn’t see them clearly in my mind’s eye.
The link between all the characters in the story is very neatly explained – a bit too neatly. It looks like the authors were very methodical in their storytelling, but in the process the spontaneity was somehow lost. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
By Sulekha Rawat