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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review : ‘Private India' by Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson

Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson have put together this book, ‘Private India’, which had me wondering exactly what parts were written by each of the authors. Okay, firstly I have never read a Patterson book, and have read two of Ashwin Sanghi’s novels. So, basically I could have been at a loss here.

It starts off excitedly, murder in Mumbai’s hotel room of a Bangkok’s highly accomplished surgeon. The doctor has her hand tied to a fork and a lotus. And on her foot is tied, a tiny Viking helmet, and around her neck, a yellow scarf. 

Called upon by ACP Rupesh to solve this one is Santosh Wagh, the head of an Indian version of a global detective agency, ‘Private’. ‘Private’ is headed by Jack Morgan on the global scale. Meanwhile, handling things in India is Wagh, Nisha, a former CBI officer, complete with Hari, a technology expert and Mubeen, the medical expert.

A series of murders follow this one, each with different symbols, denoting the fact that they have all been committed by one person. The one thing in common, that they all have are the yellow scarves around their neck! After the surgeon, a journalist, pop singer, a politician, social worker and a school principal are all killed.

Meanwhile, there is another aspect running. The immoral one. Here we have an underworld don plus, a few terrorists, Bollywood, an attorney general and a godman. There was a little too much to digest here.

Going back to the story, it  occurs during Durga Puja, which means Ashwin Sanghi has to come into play, he with his knowledge of mythology, and some of the additional stories. The thuggee story bit, which could have been an eye capturer was not delved into properly, I felt. The nine avatars of Goddess Durga is another element, which of course, we all know Sanghi for.

Overall, the book which started off very well, managed to falter here and there, thanks mainly due to its varied stories. Wagh with his sad back story lost the plot, in between.

But it is worth a read, but it depends on how we look at it. If you are expecting the ultimate combination of crime writers, then one might be a tad disappointed. Though, some of its stories might not fit in the overall book, the sub-plots are interesting and have the chance of capturing one’s mind. And probably, another book all their own.

Authors: Ashwin and James Patterson
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Random House India
ISBN: 978-0-099-58639-5
Price: Rs 350/-

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