Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Kim's Review : Private India

Private India - is James Patterson's first collaboration with an Indian author  - Ashwin Sanghi - who is better known for his books that are backed by solid research into symbology, myth and history. (Rozabal Line, Chanakya's Chant and Krishna Key.

The 2 of them worked on this book together in an interesting manner of moving the script back and forth between them, with Ashwin providing the setting and nuances into life in Bombay / Mumbai and Patterson driving the plot.

This is part of a spinoff of Patterson's - "Private" Series (started in 2010). Former Marine Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe and while the main series focuses on Jack Morgan in the USA, Patterson has already penned collaborative books based in Berlin, London and Australia, before opening the series in India (Book 8 in the overall Private Series)

The Mumbai office is run by Santosh Wagh (ex-Intelligence) and a team of brilliant specialists - Nisha, Hari and Dr Mubeen.

The team becomes involved in a care where seemingly unconnected women are murdered in a chilling ritual, with strange objects placed carefully at their death scenes.

The book is a typical Light Summer Read - its great for a non-Indian reader who has never visited India, but has always been interested in the country and Bombay / Mumbai in particular. For them its a great introduction to the city. But for someone familiar with the city, more than half the book is taken up by stock Mumbai characters and plots - Bollywood, underworld, corrupt cops, dance bars, police brutality, Page 3 parties etc.

This book is typical Patterson who has now made a career out of collaborative writing efforts (even having a collaborator on his iconic Alex Cross series), but in my Humble opinion it is a waste of Ashwin's talent and skill set.

Ashwin Sanghi has penned 3 brilliantly researched books, where his research has been very effectively woven into gripping fiction. Rozabal Line is monumental in its in-depth research. Krishna Key & Chanakya's Chant did a great job of amalgamating, history, culture, current events. Ashwin's books are an education into Indian History, Society, Sociology, Mythology. We bought this book for Ashwins inputs and skills and hence were sorely disappointed, to have received just another Crime Thriller, but set in Mumbai

I can see the appeal for Ashwin - to be introduced to a wider American audience, but for fans of his solid story telling skills, "Private India" is a disappointment.

Rating : 3 / 5

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