Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson's Private India - A book review

Private London, Private Games, Private Berlin, Private Down under, Private L.A., Private Vegas and now  it is Private India.

Private India  is the latest book in the ‘Private Series’ of the most popular thriller writer James Patterson.   Ashwin Sanghi , the author of "The Krishna key" who has a fascination for history and Indian mythology has added the Indian elements to the book and so this is a collaborative effort of the two authors. The result is a racy, unputdownable thriller book with some historical and mythological leanings set in Aamchi Mumbai.

Nine unconnected people belonging to various fields like medicine, journalism, a singer, school principal, a politician, Film director, the chief justice of Mumbai high court, a yoga guru etc.,  are killed/strangled with a  scarf. Although the people are unconnected, there are a few  common connection. All the victims are women and are strangled with a   yellow cotton scarf around their neck. Along with the scarf there are a few more strange objects left by the killer which forms the clues for the puzzle.  

Who is the killer? What is the motive and why does the killer tie them with yellow scarf? What do the strange objects signify? 

The murder mystery   solved by  Private India, the Mumbai Branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, which is also the target of a massive bomb attack,  forms the plot of the book.
 I found the initial chapters disconnected, but once I got into the groove  I turned page after page. I finished the  470 page book  in  4 hours spread over two days despite many work priorities.  That should speak for the racy pace of the book.

The clues and leads in the narration  made me  suspect so many characters in the book. One of them being the software decoder of the detective agency Hari Padhi, then after a few chapters I suspected  the Attorney General and so on.  This is what made the book interesting. Lots of twists and turns but ultimately the killer is  somebody whom the reader never suspects. The book ends in a cliffhanger.

There were many learnings for me in the book like the strange objects left by the killer were related to the nine avatars of Durga and so there are some mythological references in the book, the yellow cotton scarf is a signature of  the  ‘Thug’ cult of ancient india and so there are some historical information about the cult,  all of which are typical Sanghi style.

The best I liked about the book is the vivid description especially of Mumbai city.  A Mumbaikar will relate to the places in the book easily. It is the same vivid description at some places I disliked.  I found it spooky especially where the morgue is described. I skipped reading a few paragraphs describing it.

Overall,  I would label the book a racy page turner, worth giving a pick especially if you like thrillers.

That said, I found lot of grammatical and bad sentence formation. For instance on page 31 The para began

“ At the Regal Santosh turned toward Colaba causeway,………”

So many such sentences made me re-read the lines to connect the link properly.

A note to the proof readers and publishers:

I am no grammar Nazi or have no authority over the  English language. Even I do mistakes and found many errors in my old posts while re-reading. Of late, I have found  editing lapses in famous newspapers and other books too.

 Many  readers like me treat such written books and newspapers as reference for English spellings and learn from such books. Please take care to avoid such grammatical and spelling errors, people. Your work is   our reference. 

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


  1. Thanks for the wonderful review.

  2. I have started reading this book and agree with you that it is pretty racy and I cant wait to finish reading this one. :)

    1. Will wait for your remaining views on the book, Shilpa:)

  3. Very fine and realistic review !