Ashwin Sanghi, James Patterson
July 20, 2014
Final Verdict

About the Author

James Patterson is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. Since winning the Edgar Award for Best First Novel with The Thomas Berryman Number, his books have sold in excess of 300 million copies worldwide and he has been the most borrowed author in UK libraries for the past eight years in a row. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past two decades – the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, Detective Michael Bennett and Private novels – and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. He lives in Florida with his wife and son. James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers. James is a founding partner of Booktrust’s Children’s Reading Fund in the UK.

Ashwin Sanghi is an entrepreneur by profession but writing historical fiction is his passion and hobby. He self-published his first novel, The Rozabal Line in 2007 under his pseudonym, Shawn Haigins. His second novel, Chanakya’s Chant remained on AC Nielsen’s india Top 10 for over two years, won the Vodafone Crossword Popular Choice Award and UTV acquired movie rights. His latest thriller, The Krishna Key, was released in August 2012 and went straight to number 1 in the charts.

Private India

I recently read Private India. The latest is by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson. Got the book as part of the book review program by

Private India. James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi.

Before I launch a full-blown review, let me get some numbers out of the way. I mean the ratings.

Readability: 3.5 on 5
Suspense: 2 on 5 (I could guess the killer moment the character was first introduced)
Storyline / Plot: 4 on 5
Overall: 3.5 on 5

One-line verdict: A good one-time read. However, the story, the characters, and the plot won’t really stay with you after you’ve read the book.

We encourage you to buy books from a local bookstore. If that is not possible, please use the links on the page and support us. Thank you.

Full Review
Before the review, let’s try to make a recipe for a bestseller in the crime/thriller category.

  • Step 1. Take one portion underdog hero who is battling with his personal demons and alcohol (or drug) addiction.
  • Step 2. Throw in a bunch of loyalists who would stand by the hero through thick or thin.
  • Step 3. Add at least two people who think that the hero is a bag full of shit and is better cornered into a remand home or something.
  • Step 4. Finally, create a villain who has a personal vendetta against someone really really famous. Step 5. And then let the villain plan, plot, execute, and run from the hero, to eventually get caught by the hero, only to turn the tables in the climax, before tables turn one more time to give the hero the upper edge.
  • Step 6. Of course, once the dish is ready, as per the taste, sprinkle some steamy scenes, sidekicks (for the hero, the heroine and the villain) and personal histories of all characters.

Private India follows this recipe down to a T. Except for the steamy love scenes. Wonder why did they leave it out.

Anyhow, coming to the story, the lovely city of Mumbai is rocked by a series of murders. Each victim is a famous personality with a vague connection to Bollywood. On each crime site, a series of clues are left alongside each victim and it’s up to our righteous, know-it-all Private Detective to solve the mystery of the clues. And prevent the serial killer from going on a spree. And of course, catch the killer.

There are a couple of side plots as well. Purely to distract us, the readers, from the main story. And to give the book a larger theme per se. But I’d say, the side plot is so weak that they could’ve totally left it out.

So, while the unknown assailant is merrily killing people, the hero is trying to catch up with the killer and the side plot is trying to confuse us, lessons in history happen and we suddenly reach the end of the story! That way, the story flows smoothly. Very smooth. I wish I could write like that.

Coming to the good bits.

  • Each chapter is less than 1000 words. Some are even less than 500. So it makes for a very very easy read.
  • The story has been penned really nicely. It’s very readable. Clearly, the book has been written for people who probably are new readers.
  • One of those fast, pacy reads where the story doesn’t drag at all. The kinds that you can read in one sitting if you are on a beach or on a holiday.

And the not-so-good bits
Despite both of them being very very popular authors, this is the first James Patterson or Ashwin Sanghi that I am reading. And honestly, I expected better. From whatever I have heard, Ashwin Sanghi’s strength is digging up history (or mythology etc) and coming up with interesting takes and twists on those. At least my friends have made me believe so. Private India is nothing like that.

And James Patterson is like the grand-daddy of writing (and thrillers) and each of his book is expected to be a page-turner and unputdownable. As a struggling author, it’s one of my dreams to be able to write as well as he. This one, however, is not really up there.

Maybe its a case of over-promise and under-delivery?

In the end
As I said, it’s a good one-time read. Perfect for a holiday or a vacation. Reading Private India is like watching one of those mindless action flicks where you sit through the film and you enjoy the violence, without applying your brain. And when the movie is over, even though you don’t recall what or why you know that you had a good time watching it.

P.S.: This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books.
P.P.S.: I don’t make any money from these reviews/posts. 

Originally published on SG’s Personal Blog.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *