Unputdownable: Private India - A Book Review

Monday, September 29, 2014 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

Title:- Private India 
Series:- Private 
Language: English 
Author:- Ashwin Sanghi with James Patterson 
Genre: Fiction, Thriller 
Publisher:- Arrow Books 2014 
ISBN 13:- 9780099586395 
Binding:- Paperback 
Number of pages:- 470 


The blurb goes like this :- 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 organisation - along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens. 

 Quick Review: A thriller. This book is simply unputdownable. Right from the beginning of the book, you will be hooked to the simple language and fast pace of the story. The characters make it all the more interesting as none of them appear to be what they are! You’ll keep guessing till the end, what the actual story is all about. The only negatives I felt was the poor editing and too many side plots that needn’t have been there.  

Detailed Review: Ashwin Sanghi is a famous name in the Indian writing circles and I have reviewed a book by him “The Krishna Key” previously. I had called the book, a poor man’s Da Vinci Code. For this reason, i was a bit apprehensive when I began reading this book. For this novel, Mr. Sanghi has teamed up with James Patterson, who seems to be a prolific writer (Forgive me, as I’ve not read any of his books before). 

The cover page is well done as it reflects Mumbai in the backdrop with the Gateway of India and a man running away from a lurking danger with the Bandra – Worli sealink in the background. 

The story is set in modern day Mumbai and the beauty and mystery of the city has been brought to the fore in an elegant manner. Private India is shown to be the #1 private detective agency in India, and a subsidiary of “Private Worldwide”, A world-wide agency of detectives.

The book opens with a wannabe reporter at a high end party, where the attorney general of India is a guest and soon spirals into the first in a series of murders by the end of the first chapter.  The murdered women is of Thai nationality and peculiarly, the only clues left behind by the murderer are a yellow scarf with a single knot and a strand of hair, which does not belong to the victim. The resort where the murder takes place employs Private India as its in-house detective agency and Private India gets to the scene first. Santosh Wagh a retired police officer who is a rough image of Detective Spencer of True detective, is the head of Private India and his assistants take note of the scene and ask the police to be called in. The Mumbai police team arrives and is headed by Rupesh, a one time partner and friend of Mr. Wagh. The police team allows Private India to continue with the investigations provided the credit for solving the case goes to the Mumbai police.

As the storyline advances the murder turns into the first of a series of seemingly unlinked murders that take place across the city. It is for Santosh Wagh and his team to discover the links between the murders and solve the mystery of the various clues left behind by the murderer at the crime scenes. 

Private Worldwide investigator Jack Morgan comes into the picture at one of the points in the storyline and immediately is a prime suspect in the series of murders. Same goes with most of the cast, including the team members of Private India, all of whom seem to have a dual identity and multiple layers to their characters.

Add some interesting sub-plots, expose the underworld-godman-prostitution nexus and Private India makes for one of the most exhilarating thrillers you will ever put your hands on.

Positives: 
  1. The story is weaved well and the way it all comes together in the end is the best part of the book. 
  2.  Fast Paced – At no point of the reading did I feel that I needed a break. Keeps you hooked to each word, looking for that elusive clue, where you can piece the story together by yourself.
  3. The font is good-sized and legible. 
  4. The writing style is simple and the English used is a little on the colloquial side.
  5.  For someone who lives on thrillers and suspense novels, I could guess the ending and the identity of the murderer well before the middle of the novel. However, the storyline has enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested till the end.
Negatives:
  1. Grammatical and spelling errors. For a novel that boasts of two renowned authors, the number of errors is too damn high! Come on, couldn't you guys hire a good proof reader?
  2. Too many sub-plots that did not have to be included. Also, the sub-plots could have been left hanging for a possible sequel?!
  3. The characters could have been given more depth, including the protagonist. Sure, that would have increased the reading length, but would have been a nice touch for subsequent novels on this theme.
Who will enjoy this? - People who like a breezy read and a break from their hectic schedules. Almost everyone who reads books I guess :)

Buy or Don’t Buy?
Definite buy, however do understand that the grammar may put you off a bit! The story and plot will however make up for any shortcomings.
You can buy it from Flipkart (60% off cover price), or Amazon India (60% off cover price) or if you are not residing in India, from Amazon (Private 8).


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