In the last few weeks and still going, one book that has created serious buzz among the Indian book lovers/critiques is PRIVATE INDIA. When Blogadda offered copies of the book, we all went grabbing happily. Two things that led to my excitement were, first the book-cover read- ‘It’s the season for murder in Mumbai’ (leading to a high thrill quotient ) and second the creative piece was a result of labor and love of not one but two popular authors ASHWIN SANGHI and JAMES PATTERSON.
A thriller usually calls for a quick bite but this one was savored by me in three weeks. Firstly, it was work, then travel and further bad health that prevented me from wrapping it up soon. Finally, the trail of murders and the twisty journey came to its end yesterday and here I come up with the book review. 🙂
In one sentence: A page turner that starts on a high note with exciting series of murders and suspense, however it ends as a disarrayed storyline with messed-up subplots.
Cover Page and the Blurb
An interesting blurb promises chills and thrills. The mention of world’s finest investigation agency, dying people, killer, gang lord, godman, race of time, innocent Mumbai citizens sets the pace perfectly. At the same time, the cover page fails to impress. The architectural icons from Mumbai at the top and the ‘man running for his life’ in the below left corner do not complement the title well enough.
The story takes it turns…
You killed them, you drunk bastard…
Right from the outset, this one statement keeps coming back to Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, Mumbai branch at regular intervals. Soon we know that he has had a turbulent past and lives alone. The memories of his wife and son becoming victims to a road accident when the driver was none but him keep tormenting him. And quite often, Mr. Santosh in his free time is seen surrendering to his alcoholic pangs.
Soon, the murder occurs and arouses the readers interest. The first woman is killed and there are interesting props around her that get everyone thinking. Rupesh is the police officer engaged who isn’t very keen on Private India handling the case. Soon the second murder happens that doesn’t give much time to ease the strains between Rupesh and Santosh. While the members of the high-tech investigative agency work around the strand of hair found near the victim, forensic analysis of DNA, CCTV footage the third murder happens in succession. There is a high alert and everyone is on the toes but yet the serial killer goes on freely.
The yellow garrote becomes a commonly found item at every murder site, thus confirming that the killings are interlinked and are perpetuated by one person. 5 women, elite personalities from the bollywood, medical, politics profiles are killed one after the other till Santosh decodes the methodology being followed. Somewhere he gets close to the way the murders are being done but the why remains unanswered for long.
The murderer is agile and the next two murders confirm that he/she is on a high to kill two more. One of the members of Private India has suspicious actions too and by the time the puzzle is solved, the ninth victim is in the grip of the killer to give him final peace and solace. Yes, this is a story where 10 people are killed and lives of many more are at stake.
First, the number of pages isn’t a turn-off. The interesting props around the murdered victims is the USP of the story. The mythological turn to the murder-trail kept me hooked till the end. The storyline does not give away the culprit easily, thus the authors are successful in keeping the thrill safe till the end. I quite liked the Santosh-Rupesh, love hate relationship and the surprising end to it all. Nisha Gandhe, came out strong and bold, the only female character that stayed with me after I had finished the story. As a reader, I would say I enjoyed taking my chance at guessing who it could be who hated women so much.
The sub plots were too many and they were no less than distractions. The end was a big disappointment because the reason behind the murders did not justify the actions strongly. Private India, an investigative agency that’s world rated did not have anything authentic and impressive about it except its mysterious outside facade. The Authors tried to offer too many things on a single platter but failed to handle it well. Mumbai as a backdrop needed murders with a meaty cause and not this atleast in my opinion. The bomb fear, Munna and Nimboo Baba should have been done away with.
Go for it only when you are a Ashwin or James fan.
I love adding signed copies of books in my bookshelf.