Saturday, 24 September 2016

Private India by James Patterson & Ashwin Sanghi (Private, #8) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

Nine nights.

Nine bodies.

It's the season for murder in Mumbai...

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 447
Chapters: 116 (Plus a prologue and an epilogue.)
Publisher: Arrow Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


Wow... I expected Private India to give me a fast-paced, high-stakes ride through disaster, depravity and despair, but I did not expect it to be a heavy thriller with mind-boggling detective work that puts a lot of the previous entries to shame. That's what happens when you get comfortable with a series, people, especially a crime one. Never, ever let your guard down.

Patterson teams up with Ashwin Sanghi for Private India, and I desperately hope the two get together again. Surprisingly, this instalment has an average rating on Goodreads, and while I can understand the criticism completely, the overall tale this novel offers overwhelms the negatives with unflinching positives.

Private India will have you by the nose as it leads you through its intricately woven story. Full of the fascinating culture of India, get ready for the haunting horror a serial killer imparts over the people of Mumbai, exciting espionage, and gripping personal problems that ravage our group of heroes.

Synopsis (This time round, I'll be using the blurb that comes with my edition of the book.)

When Santosh Wagh isn't struggling out of a bottle of whisky, he's head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world's finest investigation agency.

In a city of over thirteen million he has his work cut out at the best of times. But now someone is killing seemingly unconnected people, strangled in a chilling ritual, with strange objects placed carefully at their death scenes.

As Santosh and his team race to find the killer, an even greater danger faces Private India - a danger that could threaten the lives of thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens...

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

Private India contains a killer cocktail of thrills. It prods the detective in you and laughs as you flail for answers. It leads you down a path of confidence only to rip the rug from under your feet. In essence, it's glorious. What can be considered the central plot, a serial killer murdering women in a ritualistic manner, is portrayed in great detail. The groundwork, while slower in the first half, is painstakingly placed, building and building a varied story of horror and vengeance.

It's the way everything comes together that's really special. When you reach the moments that the puzzle pieces snap together, it's gasp-worthy material. And, trust me, the twists come like freight trains. Think you've guessed the right answer? Think again.

A terrorist plot also manages to work its way through the novel, adding urgency and unpredictability as the cast fails to see it coming. This also leads to some wonderful mystery. When the reader realises that a mole is within our group of good guys, your mind crumbles into chaos. The way the authors craftily spread suspicion keeps you blind and on edge.

The finale and overall answers are phenomenal, completing the jigsaw and giving the reader some major satisfaction. The last page is a mixed bag considering where it leaves off, but the story it leaves hanging is tied to character progression rather than the plot.

Pace - 4/5 Stars

The first half of Private India is full, but that weight as it tries to set a massive stage tends to keep the pace steady and slow. I'd also say the book is a tad too long, although its length does benefit the plot's intricacy and the characters' developments.

However, once you reach that second half, things are gonna go boom! Patterson's standard lightning-quick instincts take over and drive the story to its climax with a fiery determination.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

Private India takes us on a journey with a fresh cast, and while Jack Morgan, main protagonist and owner of Private Investigations, makes an appearance, the real focus always remains on our new players. And what players they are! Patterson and Sanghi make a terrific team when it comes to the book's cast. It's likely some of the best personalities and progressions this series has seen. 

I won't single anyone out, mainly because each individual is a perfect blend of faults and skills. Broken pasts motivate the team in stellar ways, and when their backgrounds are uncovered, each contributes to making this novel an intelligent tale.

Writing - 4/5 Stars

Private India, of course, revels in simplicity and the efficient use of minimal words to set a complete scene. It's true Patterson material. Switches in viewpoints and locales can sometimes be too frantic, especially with chapters being as short as they are.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

I'll summarise it for you: The Private series is definitely still alive and kicking!

Previous Instalment: Private L.A.
Next Instalment: Private Vegas

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