Sunday, August 24, 2014

Private India - Book Review

Book: Private India
Author: Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
ISBN: 1780891725

Pages: 447 (Excluding extract by Patterson)
Ratings: 3.5/5
Price: 350

Something from the Book
Yellow Garrote Killings, read the headline of the Afternoon Mirror.

And the Private Investigators are finally in India thanks to Ashwin Sanghi. Ashwin Sanghi teamed up with International Thriller King James Patterson to get Patterson’s Private series to India with a case brewing in Aamchi Mumbai. Murder, Investigators, Shady but not guilty characters and Twists – this is thriller 101 formula and Private India capitalizes on most of it. The story starts with the murder of Thai national and more women are killed rather strangled with a yellow scarf as the story progresses. Enter Santosh Wagh an ex police officer who is a rough image of Detective Spencer of True detective – Alcoholic and Dark past. He is appointed to solve the curious case of the yellow scarf by Jack Morgan, the head of Private worldwide. Mumbai police overburdened with their work, in awe of Private’s quick response to Marine Bay Plaza’s call and puzzled by the deaths and their frequency hand the case to Private India, the best “private” detective agency of the country and so begins the hunt for the psychopath.
The story is a typical crime/murder mystery, so some of you might be wondering why Mr. Sanghi, right? Well turns out the scarf and the murder pattern has cultural and religious linkage, so the expertise. The story however doesn’t restrict itself to the main track. ISI makes a special appearance so does Indian Mujahideen and the story maintains the drama punch thanks to the cop sidekicks and a Don. The book is fast paced and enveloped in the essence of Mumbai from Taj to Dharavi from Chowpati to Malabar but has many flaws that make it a onetime read and that too an unimpressive one.

Pros –
1.   Fast Paced – Classic James Patterson novel needs to be fast paced and this book doesn’t disappoint.
2.  The End – No matter how the story went I didn’t realize the mystery till the end which was somewhat satisfying.

Cons –
1.   Language – Bad editing or bad writing, still in a fix cause no matter whose fault it is the book has numerous flaws when it comes to English.
2.  Unimpressive Characterization – Sanghi makes all attempts to let his characters make a significant impact but fails terribly. Even the Main characters Santosh and Neha don’t really impress you at any point of the story.
3.  Research in terms of the Religious and cultural aspects – Poor, that’s the word and have to say it is so unlike Ashwin Sanghi’s works. The religious aspect of Thuggee cult seemed interesting in the beginning but lost the charm mid way. To portray any fact as historical stuff proper research and clarity on the topic is required and failing to do so is one of the biggest flaws of this book.
4.  Over cooked Tale – I sincerely want to ask Ashwin Sanghi why has he started writing stories with a Bollywood frame. There are so many things in the book that scream “this is such a Salman Khan Thing.” I am ready to let go of the flaw in the very concept of the book – Mumbai Police giving all authorities to a Private Detective agency; but other than that the cold war between old pals, the unwanted intimate breaks and the overdone climax, was all that really needed?

On the whole the book gets a tick as a thriller for sure but fails to impress as a novel on the whole. I would give this book a 3.5, would have been a 3 had I not found the pace fast enough to not spend time sulking over the logical errors. The story is a ready to hand over script for a Bollywood action movie but not a one to find its corner in any reader’s paradise. 

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


  1. Lovely review Vaisakhi... To me the plot looks intriguing.

  2. I too thought it was more of a thriller than a historical/mythological story that Ashwin Sanghi gave in his last two books. Looking forward to reading his next (solo) book.

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