So in my earlier post I told you about my reading updates. And as I’ll be done I’ll keep posting the reviews. The first one to go is Private India by Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson. Now Patterson’s the Private series is extremely popular in the west and this collaboration brings Private to India and Ashwin handholds it. So, Private is one of the most secret and discreet investigating agency and Private India is their India chapter. So let’s see how has been the experience.
A woman is found dead under mysterious circumstances in a hotel room. Santosh Wagh the head honcho of Private India is called upon to solve the murder case along with Mumbai Police. By the time Wagh and his team of experts make any progress on the case another lady is found murdered with similar tell tale signs left by the killer. Before the police or Private investigators can crack anything a serial killer is on the loose and corpses keep piling up across the city. The only common link found across all murders is all victims are women and they are being garroted in the same pattern. The killer leaves signs with every corpse through props but the investigating team cannot pick up his mind. After the murders of a pop star, a film actress, a politician, a judge and a yoga guru the killer’s next victim is one of Privates investigator Nisha. A walk during the Navratri celebrations and a trip to the Asiatic Society library throws a good amount of light on the clues left by the killer. Can Santosh and his team of experts including Jack Morgan, the ex-marine and Private Inc head, solve the puzzle? Can they hunt down the killer before he garrotes Nisha?
Knowing Ashwin Sanghi’s pervious works I was quite aware the plot will have a reference to religion and mythology. Here however, it’s a mix of ancient mythology, modern day corruption, terrorism, medical advancement et all. The story almost has two plots (which probably was not required). You have this eccentric killer who leaves his victims garroted and tied to props and then you have the ISI plotting to take down Private India. You get all the usual masala from mafias, to religious babas, a corrupt police officer. The plot started off quite well with the murders building up. If you know your mythology well you will get to decipher the clues from the second murder on. I like the way Ashwin intertwines mythology and religion in his works. There are subplots and characters to distract you from zeroing in on the killer, though the killer is present in day light.
But what I didn’t get was the need of the track of the ISI and a terrorist attack alongside. It was okay without it. That is also true for the climax – actually you have two climaxes for the two tracks. This distraction could have been avoided.
Coming to characterizations – Santosh Wagh, the protagonist is an ex- RAW agent who now is the head of Private India. He is weird but brilliant guy trying to cope with his drinking problem and memories of his deceased wife and son. We see the plot unfold through his eyes. Rupesh, the corrupt police officer’s character looks little odd to me, the way he sees and imagines the victims’ corpses. The villain however, in interesting and his way of killing is interesting too. Now I don’t want to mention all the characters and give out the story. Jack Morgan, however, was finding it hard to fitted here but how can we have a Private book without him?
Things that I liked: The thrill of murders, the clues left by the killer, the sophistication of the forensic science, sequence at the Tower of Silence. I somehow liked the killer more than anything else. Yes I like these dark stuffs.
About the author:
James Patterson is a well known name in the thriller genre and is the best-seller author for the Private series, Alex Cross series, Women’s Murder Club series and many more. This is his first collaboration with any Indian author.
Ashwin Sanghi on the other hand is a well-known Indian author who specializes in mixing mythology and Hinduism in his thrillers. Some of his noted works are The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key. I had reviewed The Krishna Key earlier and you could read it here. Here he does a good job in building up the murders and the references to mythology.
My rating: I would give 4 out of 5. Overall it was a good weekend read. The book is fat enough for the weekend but I somehow finished it in a day and a half because I liked the murder descriptions!
Author – Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Genre – Fiction, Thriller
Publisher – Random House India
ISBN-10 – 0099586398
Price – 350 flipkart has a good discount though