“I can feel the smooth fabric of the garrote around my neck. I grasp both ends and gently pull. Oh, yes….I can feel the compression. A little more pressure and I’m gasping for breath. I’m about to black out as I release the garrote and allow myself to breathe once again, allowing myself back from the brink of darkness.”
Private India was one of the last books I had received for reviewing before I left for Madurai. After having lived for long in a city that had been home to me for ages, leaving Chennai was like slicing a part of my heart. But, then, we never know why a city beckons us. And the same I would say of a book. Why does a book attract us in the first place? Is it the storyline? Is it the author? Or, is it an ardent desire to just plunge into the unknown?
My reasons for wanting to read and review PRIVATE INDIA were many.
Firstly, it was a Ashwin Sanghi book. Having read and reviewed almost all of his books, I just couldn’t miss out on his latest novel.
Secondly, I really appreciate his style of writing and the research that goes into each and every novel of his.
Thirdly, I hadn’t read James Patterson before although I had heard of him. And, here was an offer to read a combination of two of the finest authors today. So, the story plot was bound to be interesting!
PLOT: A series of murders are taking place in Mumbai city. And each time, the murderer is leaving behind a clue. The clues in themselves are strange objects that appear to be carefully placed near or on the corpse. Could it be some mysterious ritual that the murderer is participating in? If so, then what IS it?
‘Santosh Wagh, the head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency’ is the protagonist of the novel. He is racing against time to stop the killer from killing again and again. But, can he succeed when there is no idea at all about the murderer who seems to be a strange serial killer out to destroy people.
“I drop the eggs into the scalding-hot water. Do you like water? I used to hate it but now I love it. You know why? Because if you hold someone’s head in a tub of water, you can stop their breathing. Like a garrote, water is also a murder weapon. Be it a rumaal, a tub of water, or a pillow – they are all switches. Flick the switch and you can turn life into death.”
But is it just that? Or is there something more sinister in the whole episode of murder and killing? Could a terrorist attack be related to it?
To me, Santosh Wagh the detective appears more like Dr. House (the medical serial) limping with his cane, fully aware of being a genius. Here too, in the novel, Santosh Wagh is fully aware of is ingenuity in solving mysteries that nobody else can and just like Dr House, he builds up a wall of self defense for the lack of emotional back-up from loved ones.
The book is a combination of politics, prostitution, hypocrisy and defeated ambitions. The combination of both the authors has resulted in a racy novel and reads like an excellent thriller. Having said that, I would have still preferred to read Ashwin Sanghi as the sole author of the book.
“There are no mistakes in my profession, sir,” replied the blacksmith, sweat trickling down his face. “Unlike a piece of wood which can turn out too short when you cut it, if a piece of metal is botched, we simply wait, reheat, and give it another go. There are always second chances – both in metal and in men.”
Title: Private India
Authors: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson
Publication: Random House
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