Monday, August 25, 2014

Private India - Book Review

Book: Private India
Author: Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Number of Pages: 470

Private India is the latest book by Ashwin Sanghi. He joins hands with James Patterson, a well known international author in his latest book.  I was looking forward to read this book having thoroughly enjoyed reading Ashwin Sanghi’s earlier book - ‘Chanakya’s Chant’. After having completed reading the book, I have to say that the book is a good read.

Private India is about a series of seemingly unrelated murders that happen in Mumbai.  Private India is the international investigation agency that takes up the assignment of tracing the criminal responsible for these murders. Lead by Santosh Wagh, the head of Private India, the team earnestly goes about the investigation process to discover that that there is a bigger danger that is about to hit them. How the team manages to foil the antagonist’s attempts to do this takes us to the end of this interesting case.

The story is narrated at a fast pace with backgrounds of different characters in the story being unveiled at different junctures.  Each of these personal backgrounds is connected to the main plot to establish why a particular character is behaving in a particular manner. It is interesting to note that each of the characters is portrayed in grey as it happens in real life rather in absolute black and white.

At one point in the novel, the criminal’s rational for killing the victim’s bear some resemblance with the 1995 David Fincher American thriller film ‘Seven’. However as one goes further in the story, it is revealed that the killer’s motive are personal unlike the killer in Seven who kills his victims based on the seven deadly sins.  

With the setting in Mumbai,   the story is quite Indian and at times Bollywood like in terms of ending and storytelling. The story sticks to the Bollywood style of holding terrorist organizations in Pakistan responsible for creating panic in India. In a way it is apt that the characters especially the antagonist in the story motivated by personal vengeance like in a Bollywood movie.  May be the ending could have been different instead of the protagonist bashing all the goons and doing the rescue act like we have witnessed in a zillion regional/Bollywood movies before.

I was slightly disappointed with the book having read Ashwin Sanghi’s ‘Chanakya’s Chant’ where the Indian cultural/historical angle in the story was weaved quite well.  In this book, there are times where the cultural connect with Goddess Durga to each of the murders appearing out of place in the given context. Also one is left to wonder if the there is a foreign guy in the story just because there is a foreign author working on the story. Is there really a need for one in the plot? The story could have adopted a more Indian approach or a completely global approach.

The book  however does a decent job in terms of holding the reader’s interest, the book . I enjoyed reading it  and it kept me engrossed all through. You might want to grab a copy of it if you are interested in thrillers and murder mysteries.

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