Publisher: Random House India
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Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson knead a fast-paced thriller-fiction with a generous helping of Bollywood-ish twists to deliver one of Patterson’s trademark mystery-action plots!
Move aside all you small time Indian detectives! India has got its own hi-tech detective agency! Private India is the Indian chapter of one of the world’s finest PI agencies, headed by Jack Morgan. Santosh Wagh is its Indian head. With a rather Dr. House-like character and a love for his drink, Mr. Wagh is a brilliant PI with a murky past. His aides are Nisha Gandhe – an Ex-cop turned PI and the attractive lass that every PI team needs, Mubeen the medical expert and Hari the unusual techie with a macho build. The story begins with the murder of a woman in a rather stagey fashion. But contrary to the cops’ initial belief, they later find out that the killer is on a killing spree. They need to find the killer not just to stop further killings but to save Mumbai from much larger threats!
What I liked
I haven’t read Mr. Patterson’s other books from the Private series though there was a time when all I read were his books – Alex Cross and Women’s Murder Club were my favorites. As you read, you get the taste of Mr. Patterson’s distinctive style that is seen in his other work. Luckily, the murder scenes are not that graphic when compared to other James Patterson works – I was thankful for that! With a lot of red herrings thrown around the plot and ample cliffhangers, the plot works perfectly and will have you guessing till the very end.
The “Indianness” of the book has been handled well. The workings of the Indian Police and Judicial system has been meticulously researched. The authors take you on a wild ride through the various streets of Mumbai, with its notorious side of gambling, prostitution, corruption, smuggling and Bollywood all making an appearance to give this book a distinctively “Mumbai” feel.
For Ashwin Sanghi, who previous works (such as Chanakya’s Chant and Krishna Key) were restricted to historical or mythological thrillers, this is new territory, and there is no doubt that he has come out of it victorious. He has added just the right dose of desi tadka to the international bestselling series, giving it an immediacy and appeal for Indian readers while retaining the spirit of the “Private series”.
What I didn’t
I am not sure how this co-authoring works, but the plot seems a little too Bollywood-ish. And there were a few things that seemed downright farfetched like a house that has thermostat in the sweltering hot Mumbai – huh? The whole motive for the killings seems fine, but I found the backstory a little weak. I know that both the authors are known more for the fast pace of their novels rather than the “literariness”, but I still felt they could have improved their narration at certain points, especially the character portrayals.
Despite these minor flaws, the book kept me turning the pages. I finished it in just 2 days, it was that engaging. This book is an early sign of the evolution of Indian thriller fiction territory, and I hope it just gets better from here!