Simply Thrilling - Book Review ('Private India' - Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson)

Private India
Authors: Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Genre: Fiction (Mystery/Thriller)
Published by: Arrow Books
No. of pages: 447
Cover price: Rs. 350

Murders in the city of Mumbai, clearly the work of a serial killer, are being investigated by Private India, a premium investigative agency.
The head of Private India, Santosh Wagh is fighting his own private demons as he races against time to solve the murders, before the serial killer strikes again.
As the murders are investigated, it becomes a complicated case, when the Rich and Famous, the Politically Powerful, a Gang Leader, a Godman and even Terrorists, all seem to be somehow involved.

Santosh Wagh reminds me of Dr House. I guess the cane is the main reason. But there is also Santosh's addiction to alcohol, and Dr House's addiction to Vicodin.

For me a book takes-off, when I am going back to reading it every available moment. In case of Private India, the take-off took a little while. By Page 40 or so, I was hooked.

The chapters are usually short, as if small acts are being played. A peek into one angle of story, and then the scene changes... it keeps the mind on its toes...

Especially in the first few chapters, as the Chapter (or Act) would change and as new characters were introduced, I had to stop a couple of times, to kind-of think back, recall it all, and read on. But as I said before, it didn't take me long to be hooked.

The crime scenes described from the vision of a serial-killer are almost clinical, which is an effective means of making them scarier.

The life history of each character is short and to-the-point, a few words describing the defining experiences of their life.
As I read along, I was impressed by seemingly unpretentious descriptions of Mumbai. The contrast of the rich and poor of Mumbai, local trains, Haji Ali, Navratra celebration are described simply and precisely. It is impressive....
For me, this book epitomizes the art of 'less is more'. A few precisely chosen words, paint vivid, striking visual images.

This genre is not what I would usually read.
But I love Sherlock Holmes book, and this love has been further strengthened, thanks to BBC's Sherlock.
Mysteries interest me, but it is the mystery solvers that interest me more.
Private India is a good mystery, but the mystery solvers, i.e., the detectives are interesting too. That is why this book worked for me.

Private India is part of the Private series of books written by James Patterson in collaboration with other authors. It is the first of the series that I have read. But after reading it, I will certainly want to read a few others.

Favourite quotes from 'Private India'
  • "Mumbai - once known as Bombay - was a throbbing metropolis with the attitude of New York City, the chaos of Kathmandu, the vibe of Miami, and the infrastructure of Timbuktu."
  • "Life has no meaning without the presence of death. Life is simply the absence of death. The fools of this world labor to prevent death, unmindful of the fact that it is death that will set them free."
  • "The relationship between hunter and prey is unique. It's almost like unrequited love because one party hardly feels anything at all."
  • "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."

I am not telling whether the ending was a big surprise, a small surprise, or no surprise at all. I will tell, though, that whatever it was, it was good, it was worth reading 447 pages.

This review is a part of the biggest" target="_blank"> Book Review Program for" target="_blank">Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!


  1. Getting mixed reviews for this book, Nimi.
    Nice that you liked it.
    Even I love Sherlock Holmes :)

    1. Yes, Anita, I did like the book. If you choose to read it, do tell if you like it too...

  2. A very crisp review Nimi.....I liked all the quotes that u mentioned

  3. Excellent analysis Nimi. And, the choice of your favourite quotes overlap with those of mine. Well presented. :)

  4. Great Review... Its raining Private India now-a-days but I am thoroughly enjoying All the reviews... Yours is special because of the lines you have quoted.. specially the first one :) I liked your honest review as you have mentioned that for you iut took off only after page 40 or so but then you were hooked :)

    1. It truly seems to be raining Private India and even I am enjoying reading the reviews, especially since I have read and reviewed the book myself.
      I do try my best to be very honest when reviewing a book. I am glad you enjoyed this review...
      Thanks :)


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