In Mumbai, seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses.
For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, it’s a race against time to stop the killer striking again.
In a city of over thirteen million, he’d have his work cut out at the best of times, but this case has him battling Mumbai’s biggest gang lord and a godman who isn’t all he seems.
And then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organisation – along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens…
Having located The Nine Durga Avatars of Hinduism, they sat down at an illuminated desk. Nisha began to read aloud the relevant passages to both men as softly as she could.
“The mother goddess—Durga—has three basic forms and each of these has three manifestation thus resulting in a total of nine avatars. Each night of the nine-day festival of Navarati is dedicated to one of the nine avatars—”
“Yes, yes, I know that,” said Santosh impatiently. “I want to know what each avatar looks like.”
Turning the pages further, they saw an illustration showing what Shailputri looked like. There was a moment of hushed awe when they saw the image of the avatar holding a trident in one hand and a louts flower in the other.
Nisha quickly flipped the page and found that the second avatar was called Brahmacharini. She was pictured with one hand holding a water pot, and another holding a rosary.
Nisha browsed the pages to find the third avatar, Chandraghanta. This avatar of Durga was shown riding a tiger. She was holding a bell and had a semicircular moon painted on her forehead.
When two best-selling authors of the same genre from different corners of the world team up to write a novel, we have The Pages That Turn Themselves. The first thing I noticed is the cover of the book, two images super-imposed into one under the title on the front and a blurb that activates your reading hormones. Private India by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson is a treat to the activated reading hormones. Gangsters, godmen, celebrities, politicians, orphans, prostitutes, beggars, police, journalists, nomadic tribes, local trains, rundown buildings, malls, libraries, hi-fi gadgets, laboratories, terror attacks, millions of people and what not – this story connects with every single element needed in a spine-chilling thriller.
For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency headed by an ex CIA Agent Jack Morgan, it’s a race against time to stop the yellow garrotte serial killer who yearns for limelight.
Santosh is an extra-ordinary chief with the cane at day and lives with a Johnnie Walker bottle at night to solace his troubled past. Hari Padhi, Private India’s technology geek, cracked almost all the security gates, was arrested for trying to flee the country under a false identity. Ragini Sharma, the Honorable MLA from Alibaug constituency, was once a sex worker. We have more than dozen of characters in this story, each one of them is a two-dimensional character, having a troubled past that makes them a suspect. The story opens when visiting Thai surgeon Kanya Jaiyen is killed in mysterious circumstances at the Marine Bay Plaza; Private India gets to the scene as it is employed by Marine Bay Plaza. From then on, like a ticket collector, Private India’s Mubeen, collects dead bodies of people killed in mysterious ways using a Yellow Garrotte.
One interesting aspect of the book is adding Indian Mythology into the murder scenes, especially when the killer leaves tell-tale signs. Somehow, I wished that the authors justified the murder with more details of the forms of Goddess Durga rather than just portraying the forms.
The Yellow Garrotte, Nine Forms of Goddess Durga, Two-Dimensional characters, Hi-Fi Gadgets, detailed description of the autopsy, short chapters, ideal font-size, make this book an absolute page-turner, no second thoughts. Now it is your turn to read the book to unravel the mystery behind the Yellow Garrotte.
Writing Style: 5/5
Book Cover: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Title: Private India
Author: Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Publisher: Random House
Year of Publication: 2014
Price: 350 Rs.