Private India

 It’s the season for murder in Mumbai. 

Some books, though big and bulky, can’t be closed until the end. This is one such book, with twists and turns and an ultimate ending.


ISBN13: 9780099586395

Edition Language: English

Authors: James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi

No of pages: 470

The plot is like any other crime thriller. A serial killer (Oh Yah, we all need ’em!), his motive to kill ONLY women, the different props he used, the clues he left (purposefully), and the detective who could unwind it all. Yes. A good start for the crime in Mumbai.

Private India starts at Marine Bay Plaza, a death of a doctor by yellow garrotte and a psycho (or is he?) leaving props as a clue for the cops with the dead body. And when the death by the yellow garrotte continues, Private India’s head detective is given the task to solve it all.

Santhosh Wagh, the head detective, lives in the alcohol induced haze and a perpetual guilt. His life is his work and when the killing begins, he has something other than to drink and mourn. Santhosh’ character is built with care. His past, his job, his future, they are all woven together to give a solid background. But somewhere along the way, it felt inadequate.

There are so many characters in the story. Mubeen, the medical examiner; Hari, the technology geek; Nisha, the secretary and the list goes on… The abundant peppering of characters at the beginning (there really are too many faces and names at the beginning that I found myself going back to remember the names) confused me, but once the story started to move along, some of these characters stayed with me. Only some.

The list of the killer – those women, they didn’t nail themselves in my mind. Their lives are described in fleeting, and though they are killed, I just couldn’t feel the emotion. I just couldn’t feel sorry for them. These women – the killer’s target – the authors could’ve made use of them to make the story more emotionally involving, but all through the story, I was emotionally detached when coming to the killings. I went along the ride, just because I wanted to know the face of the killer.

I’ve read many crime thrillers/mystery, and felt sorry for the death of at least one character, but so long, I felt empty. All I wanted to find out is the killer’s motive and who he was and thus, I felt forced to continue and finish it at one sitting. Forced, not attracted.

The Mujahideen angle, the ISI, Pakistan – I felt that it was unnecessary, but at one angle, it did make the good portion. Still… these parts sometimes made me feel like a page-fillers. Terrorism didn’t really fit into the story. It should’ve been avoided.

What I loved about the story is its intriguing plot. I wanted to solve the case along with Santhosh Wagh and I wanted to find who the killer is – that involvement, that excitement, the props with the dead bodies, the clues… they made the story more interesting. And the short chapters, a definite Patterson style!

What I hated: Too many subplots, too many characters and too many everything. Also, the prose is simple and easy to read, but it made the story suffer at some points. Not that kind of the book that make me read along, just because of its language.

I would give 3.5 out of 5 for this thrilling, but exhausting roller-coaster ride. A definite one time read.


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