Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Private India: A Book Review

Author: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson
Publisher: Arrow Books
Genre: Murder Mystery/ Thriller
Price: Rs 350
Pages: 470

When I received the book Private India by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson through Book Review Program by blogadda, I was excited and eager to read a thriller after a long gap of time. The blurb intrigued the Sherlock Holmes in me and the book didn’t disappoint. I kept on turning pages unmindful of the hour, much to the chagrin of those at home. But who will understand the woes of a bibliophile?

I started it Tuesday night but because of threats looming right around the house (a strict husband who hates when I become a night owl and a son who hollers when he doesn’t get my full attention), had to abandon it half way through to get some sleep. I got up early on Wednesday to finish the read. 

The Author(s) kept dropping hints throughout and I was able to solve the case before Santhosh Wagh, solved it. Even then, the author managed to surprise me with many other twists, which were in the offing. 

The Plot:  When Dr. Kanya Jaiyen from Thailand is murdered at Marine Bay Plaza in Mumbai, the team of Mumbai branch of Private India, the world’s finest investigation agency, is called in to investigate. The Mumbai police allow the Investigative agency to manage the investigation in close collaboration with them.

What began as just another random murder in a city of over thirteen million turns out to be the first among a series of blood curdling murders of seemingly unconnected women. The chase for capturing the murderer is complete with adrenaline rushes and near misses. The presence of a don and a godman , corrupt police officers and government agencies are enough to complicate things in a true bollywood style story.

Would Santhosh Wagh be able to stop the killer and would he be able to stop an even more sinister plan to destroy his whole organization are the main questions that guides the reader through the tale.

The Investigators:

Santosh Wagh, ex RAW, the head of Private India, who is portrayed as a drunk cop battling demons from an unhappy past.
His team: The bold and beautiful Nisha Gandhe, formerly of Mumbai CID, Hari Padhi , the tech wizard and Mubeen , the clever forensic expert. All the characters harbor a hatred against the evil and that is what drives them in their fight against it.

Jack Morgan, Ex CIA the founder and head of PRIVATE worldwide, a premier investigative agency.

In true Ashwin Sanghi style, the characters and the settings are well researched. Being an expert on mythological and historical thrillers, there are glimpses of untold history that keeps the reader engrossed in the tale. 
I don’t know how the collaboration worked between the two authors or how much each has contributed to the work, but it has succeeded to churn out a winner.

There was a definite bollywood flavor to the whole book, which I guess cannot be avoided as the story is based in Mumbai. The filmy shtyle took down the narration down a notch at many places. At many places I felt as though I am reading the screen play of a Bollywood thriller, complete with the lecherous villians and gun weilding cops.

Verdict:  Though murder mysteries are not my favorite genre of books, this one managed to keep me glued till the end. The language is simple but not dull.
If you are among those who love to read mysteries where guns and gore play god, this is just the one for you. Go ahead and grab the book for a thrilling read.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!


  1. I loved a good mystery :) especially those which make us think tooo ..


  2. Yet to receive it from BA... :-) seems interesting...

    1. Yes is interesting. Moreover the book is a signed copy...:)

  3. Nice one and I agree, the bollywood stuff wasnt my thing but I guess if it has to be taken to Patterson's international audience, it will click. What did you think about the collaboration?

    1. I read opinions from a few international readers about the book. They found it entertaining according to their review. So this collaboration has worked to take India and an Indian author to an international audience. That is great news for Indian Literary scene.

  4. I'll be honest - I won't read this review yet. I'll also be getting a copy shortly, so I wanna keep a clean slate before reviewing it. Hope you liked the book; I'll post my review and come back to read this post :P

  5. With a bollywood twist and the language being simple I would've loved to try this book , but the story seems very disappointing coming from two authors...

    1. Nothing like that Najm Nisa. If the publishers hadn't made it clear that it was co-written by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson, I wouldn't have been able to decipher it.

  6. I agree with you. This one was a good read :)

  7. Interesting ...the book is really awesome on murder mystery , but for someone who has read this authors previous books- there is slight disappointment.
    We both have started the review on the same note - how excited we were to get a book from Blog Adda. :)