Ashwin Sanghi has made a name for himself in the Indian literary industry with some interesting novels whether its ‘The Rozabal Line’, ‘The Krishna Key’ or ‘Chanakya’s Chant’. He is known for mixing mythology, historical events with some amount of fiction and thus producing a brilliant read captivating audiences across the spectrum. With ‘Private India’, he combines with the internationally acclaimed author of the ‘Private’ series – James Patterson. Does it work? Let’s check it out.
The blurb goes like this –
In Mumbai, seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses.
For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai Branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, it is a race against time to stop the killer striking again.
In a city of over thirteen million, he’d have his work cut out at the best of times, but this case has him battling Mumbai’s biggest gang lord and a godman who isn’t all he seems.
And then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organization along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens.
The best part about co-writing a book with a famous international author is the exposure to a famous publishing house which would ensure that the publicity and styling is done at par with international standards. Moreover, it’s a win-win for readers since they get the best of both worlds – Ashwin’s writing style along with Patterson’s expertise in telling tales internationally across borders.
The cover page is well done as it reflects Mumbai in the backdrop with the Gateway of India and a man running away from a lurking danger with the Bandra – Worli sealink in the background. The text and the quality of the paper is excellent.
Patterson has collaborated with various writers internationally for his Private series and that’s why Private Los Angeles, Private Berlin & even Private London have come out. Santosh Wagh has been handpicked to lead the operations for Private India. While he knows that this task requires him to take a hell lot of responsibility, he’s thrown in to the deep end when the case of mysterious killings across Mumbai is given to him.
While Sanghi brings out his love for mythology by bringing festivals like Navratri, Goddess Durga & even information on the Thuggee cult into the mix, Patterson ensures that the murders & the thrilling sequences are given the importance they deserve. Along with all of this, politics, terror, drugs and the likes are also pieces of the plot puzzle. Together, they weave a captivating and pacy plot which keeps you hooked till the end. The narrative is structured pretty well throughout. From the Taj Hotel to Haji Ali, the writers have beautifully captured the sights and sounds of Mumbai.
Any negatives? The editing and grammar isn’t done too well. Flaws of these kind in a thriller act as stumbling blocks to the narrative. At certain points of the book, you get a Bollywoodesque feel which leaves you thinking on what could have been. There are also certain sub-plots which act as a bit of an obstacle to the story.
In a book where you bring in mythology which wouldn’t necessarily be an actual representation of events, there is always the chance of people finding faults.
Santosh Wagh is the one who holds the entire story together. He is portrayed as one who has a sharp mind and always has the information to solve any case whatsoever. His dependence on alcohol and his tragic past make him vulnerable but he ensures to keep his sanity intact. The characterization for the others whether its the godman, the underworld bhai or Jack Morgan could have been done in a better way.
All in all, if you are one for decently written thrillers, go for this one!
Rating – 3/5
PS – This is my first ever book of either James Patterson or Ashwin Sanghi