James Patterson is an International phenomenon when it comes to writing entertaining novels. There are no 2 ways about that fact. And Ashwin Sanghi, the bestselling author of the Chanakya's Chant, The Rosabel Line and The Krishna Key, knows his way around words. So when these 2 decided to join hands and give life to Patterson’s latest novel, Private India, everyone expected fireworks, shock and surprise that suspense novels generally promise. Sadly, the Private India doesn’t live up to those promises and underwhelms at a lot of places. It is a good story, but it lacks punch that can make it a knockout. The story though is very well researched and has a decently good structure, but it just doesn’t have the hooks to that can sink into you to make you go back to it again or rather sit down and finish it in one setting.
Let’s start at the beginning. Private India is the 8th novel in the Private India series. Co-written by James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi, the novel starts with a series of unconnected murders taking place all over the Mumbai and Santosh Wagh and his teammates that form to be Private India – one of the world’s best detective agency - have to try and catch the killer before chaos ensues.
Santosh as the protagonist of the story has a nicely developed background. As you read, you’ll see how Wagh deals with the loss of the wife and son; by drinking his sorrows away. But that doesn’t slow him down. He is fully functional alcoholic – functional being the key word - and committed to his job, earning the trust and respect of Nisha Gandhethe super attractive assistant to Wagh. Together with the help of Mubeen - the medical examiner and Hari - the tech guru, they try to nail down the killer who is killing woman in a seemingly unrelated pattern.
As the story moves forward you get to see how the police seek Private India’s help in trying to understand the motive behind the murders. The book deals with a lot of subjects like religion, child abuse, prostitution, corruption and many others that will make you think deeply about the sorry state of affairs currently happening in what is called the business capital of India – Mumbai.
The novel moves in a steady rhythm as we are introduced to one of the core characters of the series - Jack Morgan – the founder of Private detective agency all over the world. We read about his connection with one of the victims and how he is looked upon as a suspect. The later part of the story sees Santosh and Jack make intelligent assumptions about the killer’s motives and then track the killer down to learn what made him do it.
The climax is good as it may mildly surprise you, but the novel lacks lots of things. Language, for example, is very simple and easily understandable, but it feels more like someone explaining a science experiment, and not in a very exciting way. The parts that I really did not like was the assistant commissioner of police asking some really silly questions that made me question ‘How did this guy become the commissioner in the first place?’. The action sequences in the novel are top notch and some back stories of secondary characters are nicely developed.
I give it 2.5 stars. If you are up for a long train journey then pick this book up and you will be surprised to read the climax, but the language can be a bit of a downer as it feels too simple. Give it a go, but don’t expect it to blow your mind.