Sunday, 7 September 2014

Oindrila reviews 'Private India'

I was overwhelmed with joy the other day when I was offered the opportunity to review Ashwin Sanghi's latest crime thriller. This exclusive first-print edition bore Sanghi's autograph! Also, the package arrived with a personalized note signed by the CEO of Blogadda. All of this just made my day! :-)

Before I begin the detailed review, here are the fast facts:-

Title: Private India
Authors: Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Genre: Crime-Thriller (Fiction)
Publisher: Arrow Books
Pages: 447
Price: Rs.350 (Paperback)

The Main Characters:-
1. Santosh: Head of Private India
2. Nisha: The only female investigator at Private
3. Mubeen: Private's forensic expert
4. Hari: Technology geek & the youngest Private member
5. Rupesh: Assistant Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch of Mumbai

The Review:-

Private India is the latest in the Private-series by James Patterson. Set in the fast-paced glamour-capital of India, the story begins with the murder of a Thai doctor in a luxury hotel. Soon, the country's premier investigation agency, Private India, is called to investigate the killing. Santosh, the head of Private India, decides to involve the police, and in comes ACP Rupesh from the Mumbai Crime Branch.

Before they make any headway on the case, within 12 hours, they are faced with another murder - a celebrity-reporter hangs from the ceiling fan of her bedroom. Team Private India wonders whether the two murders are related. Both the victims, though unrelated, have curious props surrounding them... and a strand of hair that Mubeen, Private's medical expert, examines carefully.

The story picks up pace as more women are killed in quick succession. This ups the pressure on Private to nail the murderer (or murderers?) before more bodies of innocents are rendered lifeless. The narrative explores the lives of each of the key characters, and their disturbing pasts resurface ever so often. There is a certain bitterness between Santosh and Rupesh that hinders them from working together amicably.

As more murders are reported, Santosh makes a discovery - the strange objects that are placed at each murder site bear some significance... in mythology. Nisha, meanwhile, digs into the past of the victims and unearths some spine-chilling facts that could reveal the motive behind these seemingly unrelated killings. The plot gets very interesting at this point as the team tries to guess the next murder and catch the culprit before another lady is slain. But the road to the murderer is strewn with red herrings and dangers. Private smells the involvement of Mumbai's notorious underbelly and the possibility of a terrorist attack - something that sends shivers down the spines of these detectives.
Will Private India succeed in solving this case? Or will they end up becoming the next victims of the cold-blooded murderer? Do Gods have a hand in these killings? Or is it Mumbai's most feared gang-lord? Why would anyone want to kill so many people? Are the killings justified?
You must read this page-turner to have your questions answered!

My Verdict:-

This is the first time I read a Sanghi or a Patterson, and I'm thoroughly impressed! The duo manages to hold my attention and keep me hooked to the plot until the very end. The story is not a unidimensional murder-mystery, but a layered masterpiece that has several backstories that reveal more about the characters. Mythology and mystique are beautifully woven into the murders. There is an unmistakable energy in the book - the same energy that courses through the heart of Mumbai, a city that accommodates the rich, the powerful, and the dangerous, all at once. Sanghi has chosen his backdrop well, and has neatly infused this city's iconic sites in the account.

The piece has scope for some improvement, though. The ending is abrupt and demands more clarification on certain aspects of the story. I feel, some mysteries have remained mysteries. I can only make my own assumptions for those bits to silence my mind that keeps asking more questions. Also, the book could do with one more round of proofreading. I could spot a couple of minor grammatical errors. But then again, I've got an editor's eye. :-P The average reader won't notice a thing.

Overall, I rate this book an 8 on 10. It was well worth my time and a complete entertainer!

If you are still undecided on whether to pick this book up, here's the video-trailer that should get you all pumped up! :-)

This review is part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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