Sunday, September 7, 2014

Book Review: Private India – Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson

The novel is set in Mumbai, where a series of murders of oddly unconnected women unravel a different kind of fear. Private India, the Indian arm of Detective Agency of International repute is put in place to investigate the murders. An Ex-Policeman Santosh Wagh is at the helm of affairs, assisted by his able team consisting of Nisha Gandhe an Ex-policewoman with an excellent track record, Mubeen the forensic expert and Hari Padhi, the technology expert.

The story starts with the mysterious murder of a Thai Plastic Surgeon; Dr Kanya Jaiyen, and is followed by death of a reporter, Bhavana Choksi, a newspaper reporter from Mumbai, Priyanka Talati, a famous Bollywood Singer, Elina Xavier, Principal of a reputed school, Lara Om Prakash, an actor/ director, Ragini Sharma, State MLA,  Anjana Lal, Chief Justice and finally Devika Gulati a Yoga tutor who teaches the rich and famous. What connects these murders is a yellow garrotte tied around the neck of the victims and each victim is left surrounded by a an eclectic mix of signs and symbols, which baffles the investigators.  It is now upto Santosh Wagh and team to discern the similarities and crack the case. The plot contains the usual suspects like; a policeman hand in glove with an underworld don, an underworld don ruling the city, a god-man with a dubious past etc., The team tries to connect the dots using the props left at the crime scene and slowly but steadily inch towards solving the cases. How they catch the killer is the rest of the story.

Every element in the story has been well researched and written; there is a sense of authenticity in the incidents mentioned. The book describes the sights and sounds of Mumbai in great detail and it kind of transports you to the scene itself.  Ashwin Sanghi’s strong hold of Indian Mythology comes through beautifully in the book and it lends the much needed punch.

There are elements like an impending bomb blast across the city, Mujhahideen trying to get in touch with the underworld don etc, these sub plots add to the intensity, but do not yield much substance at the end, they fizzle out unexpectedly.

Overall the novel moves at a steady pace and makes a good weekend read!

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