Private India – Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson – Book Review


Goodreads blurb: 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 PI agency.

In a city of over thirteen million he has his work cut out at the best of times. But now someone is killing women – seemingly unconnected women murdered 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.


While the blurb doesn’t give away too much about the book and is just about enough to pique any potential readers’ interest, the fact remains that Private India remains one of the most anticipated book of the year for almost over six odd months now. It was around that time that Ashwin Sanghi of The Krishna Key [Link to my review] and Chanakya’s Chant [Link to my review] fame announced that he was collaborating with James Patterson, world renowned author of multiple bestsellers and was co-authoring an India based book with him and this announcement has caused quite a flutter in the online world.

This led to me reading up quite a bit about James Patterson and as luck would have it, he turned out to be a specialist in the crime action thriller genre of books with his Private series of which Private India would form the latest installment. Along with the Alex Cross series and the Women’s Murder Club series, the Private series of books formed quite the formidable portfolio of this wonderful author. And given that I had immensely enjoyed Ashwin Sanghi’s earlier books as well, it was a no-brainer that this book belonged to the ‘must-read’ category as far as I was concerned.

But surprise, surprise, even before I could lay my hands on the book, Sid B (of fame), a blogger and more importantly a dear friend surprised me by ordering the book online for me and having it delivered to me just two days after its official release. Only true friends realize what you want without even waiting for it to be stated. Thanks Sid, owe you one for the book and many more for your thoughtfulness.

The plot itself deals with a series of seemingly unconnected serial killings across Mumbai where women are found strangulated by a mysterious murderer who leaves harmless little everyday objects behind as clues to the cops. Private India, a team of super exclusive private investigators is brought into action and headed by Santosh Wagh, ex RAW, the team of Nisha Gandhe (ex Mumbai CID), Hari Padhi (tech wizard) and Mubeen (forensic expert) take it upon themselves to try and find the killer before he strikes again.

What starts off as a murder investigation gets murkier and murkier as the team starts unravelling a plot much more complex and bigger than they ever anticipated. For Santosh who is already dealing with ‘ghosts from his past’ and has resorted to alcoholism to overcome them, this case is a nightmare in the sense that it tests his patience, his intuition, his skills of detection and his analytical skills to the core. With the loyal, smart and committed team by his side, the investigation takes up on a whirlwind journey where the killer, his story, his motives are finally brought to light. But the fun part about the book is the riveting roller-coaster ride it takes us through in the course of its journey.

What really worked well for me in the book was the fact that the pacing was pitch perfect. Not once did I feel that the book slacked or lagged with its momentum. It kept me going on and on till I reached the very end. The main protagonist Santosh Wagh was also quite well written, although I must admit that at some level I am tired of the alcoholic ex-cop who is constantly trying to deal with the demons of his past. I guess having seen quite a few movies in the recent past with this character, it struck me as somewhat clichéd. But otherwise, Santosh comes across as someone who you can relate to and like a little bit as well. The supporting cast in the form of his team also comes across as quite memorable.

What didn’t quite work for me was how the murderer was portrayed right at the end of the book, especially his motives for the last planned victim. That portion of the plot seemed a little contrived, just to make the plot a little more personal, and in my opinion could probably have been re-written. But then, who am I to question narrative geniuses like Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson.

In summary, this book is surely a must read for all fans of the crime action thriller genre. It is a page-turner which will keep your mind ticking during the entire time that you read the book.

So, what are you waiting for, please click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link], or here to purchase the book from Amazon [Link]


Disclaimer: Yes, I will make some money as commission if you purchase the books by clicking on either of the links above, but rest assured that it will not increase your purchase price of the book.


Name Private India
Author/s Ashwin Sanghi, James Patterson
Publisher Arrow Books
Year published 2014
ISBN 13 9780099586395
Goodreads link Link
Flipkart link Flipkart
Amazon link Amazon

15 thoughts on “Private India – Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson – Book Review

  1. Nice one Jairam. It is always interesting to read different perspectives of the same book. 🙂 It is interesting how many of us have interpreted the narration style as well, I thought it was mainly Sanghi’s writing with Patterson not contributing as much.. I wish they come out in an interview of sorts to talk about how they went about collaborating on this one..

    • @Seeta, there have been multiple interviews, at least with Ashwin Sanghi, but then he just mentions that all of the collaboration happened online per se, with him providing research inputs and an overall plot line with Patterson providing inputs on the pace of narration and plot turners.

  2. You are welcome Jai. And interesting review, probably more for me since I hardly read or write reviews. As Seeta said, it’s been interesting to note different takes on the same book.

    • @Sid, just goes on to show how much of the reader’s tastes are reflected in the book one is reading. The same book seem to extract different reactions from different readers, doesn’t it?

  3. I have 15 books to finish – yet I am tempted to buy this one as I am a huge fan of JP 🙂 still should not yield to temptation need to finish the 15 books in Q before hopping on to this one 🙂

  4. I am still waiting for my copy of the book. It hasn’t been released here. I do like Patterson. so, I’m sure I will enjoy the book.
    Now, waiting for Seeta’s review!

  5. I had read Seeta’s review first and yours seem to be quite in contrast 🙂 I did like Chanakya’s Chant a lot, so I can guess the pace of the book. The Bollywood bit does seem to be a strong put-off. Good review 🙂

    • @Uma, mind you, it’s only the ending that is a little filmy, otherwise the book itself is quite good with an engaging fast-paced narrative 🙂

  6. I want to read this book very much. I have applied for the BlogAdda giveaway yesterday and keeping my fingers crossed to receive it soon. I loved Ashwin Sangi’s two previous books that I read 🙂

    Destination Infinity

    • @Destination Infinity, it is not quite in the same genre as Sanghi’s earlier books and to be honest a lot of Patterson’s influence has crept in to this book, but to be fair, it really is a good book 🙂

  7. Nice review. I’ve read one or two books in the Private series and they are very fast-paced and gripping. Looking forward to this one.

    Btw, love the new look of your blog. Very nice!

    • @Nish, if you like the Private series, then this is one book you shouldn’t miss, given Ashwin Sanghi’s influence on the book.

      And thanks for your comments about the new look, this is the best I can do given the Free Themes WordPress provides 🙂

  8. I have quite enjoyed patterson’s books, Alex cross series but after a point it was all the same, predictable and so I stopped.. Not been a great fan of Ashwin’s writing.. When I saw this book, I wasnt even tempted to pick it up, maybe cos I thought it would be more of Ashwin than Patterson….

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