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

The Krishna Key – Book Review

Conspiracy Fiction, as a genre of books were always popular with voracious readers of books and Dan Brown with his (in)famous Da Vinci Code ensured that this genre received a crazy boost in terms of the interest generated and readership volumes. In recent times, some good books in this genre set in an Indian context have made their way to bookstores and “The Krishna Key” by Ashwin Sanghi is one of them. Regular readers of this blog would have surely read my review of “Chanakya’s Chant” and would have realized that I have somewhat become a fan of this particular author and his style of story-telling. To put it mildly, Ashwin Sanghi reminds me a lot of Michael Crichton where solid research backed by a wonderful reimagining of known facts and theories ensured awesome books. And The Krishna Key does not disappoint readers, at least for most part…

The book deals with how Prof. Ravi Mohan Saini, an avid historian gets embroiled in a series of murders and in the process of uncovering the truth ends up in digging more than just the truth about the murders. His travels take him in search of the legendary buried city of Dwaraka, to the demolished temples of Somnathpur, to the archaeological digs of Kalibangan, to the historic site of the Mahabharatha war at Kurukshetra, to Mount Kailas and also to the Taj Mahal. And if just the mention of these places doesn’t make you want to read the book, the author goes on to describe the history of all of these places and associated characters in history in such great detail that anybody who is interested in the history of India, the Mahabharatha, and various other associated people and events simply have no choice but to pick up this book and read it as soon as they possibly can.

Coupled with the Professor’s obsession with Krishna’s history and his genuine belief that there was more to this particular mythological god than we already know, ensure that almost the entire Mahabharatha is retold as part of this book. The author cleverly inserts his own abridged version of the Mahabharatha as a couple of paragraphs at the beginning of every new chapter in the contemporary tale of how Prof. Saini is on the run from the police.

A very quick paced book, this is just like Ashwin Sanghi’s other books, an unputdownable one which all regular readers will strive and complete in one sitting itself, if possible 🙂

A good read, and I won’t be too surprised if it is made into a movie or a TV series sometime in my lifetime.

One small disclaimer though, the author does take quite a few liberties with historical facts and personalities. Readers are advised not take the book too seriously and start questioning their basic beliefs and things like that as that might just lead to too much of anxiety about all the knowledge that we have of these topics. This book is from the conspiracy fiction genre and should be treated as such.


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Name The Krishna Key
Author/s Ashwin Sanghi
Publisher Westland India
Year published 2012
ISBN 13 9789381626689
Goodreads link Link
Flipkart link Link
Amazon link Link

Chanakya’s Chant – Book Review

I first heard of (or saw his name, to be more accurate) Ashwin Sanghi ( when I was browsing the new releases section of an online book retailing website. The site provided a free excerpt to Ashwin Sanghi’s upcoming novel “The Krishna Key“. The few pages that were provided there were compelling enough for me to go ahead and read his previous novel “Chanakya’s Chant“.

The novel took me down memory lane as more than half the book deals with the story of Chanakya, Chandragupta and how the two of them due to their efforts managed to unify most of India under one king back in the day. It was a walk down memory lane to me as it brought back memories of watching Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s teleserial “Chanakya” on TV when I was in my teens. I remember loving that serial back then, and coming back to this story after all these years felt good.

The novel itself deals with the story of Chanakya for one part while drawing parallels with another story from modern Indian politics, that of Pandit Gangasagar Mishra and his protege Chandini Gupta. The narrative keeps alternating between Chanakya’s efforts to make Chandragupta the emperor of India and Pandit Mishra’s efforts to make Chandini the Prime Minister of India. Just as Chanakya used guile, deceit, circumstances, politics and pretty much everything at his disposal to succeed in his efforts, so does Pandit Mishra in his endeavors. The author manages to draw wonderful parallels between historical and contemporary Indian politics to bring out the fact that as far as this particular field is concerned, not too much has changed and well, the fact that the players involved will pretty much do anything to achieve their goals.

The beauty of this book is the fact that the author manages to keep the narrative extremely pacy. In fact, he never lets the readers off the hook even for a single page. Voracious readers will find it hard to put down the book even for a 5 minute break without thinking about what will happen next. I would go so far to state the Ashwin Sanghi has written this book with the intention of converting it into the screenplay of a movie or a teleserial (evidenced by the news that UTV Software Communications has indeed acquired the movie rights for this book. That should surely be an interesting movie to watch.

In any case, this book is well worth the time spent in reading it as it leaves you pondering about modern day politics, more so due to all the newspaper headlines that one reads regarding CoalGate, 2G auction scam and all the various other hobbies that our current crop of politicians engage in.

Related information

Name Chanakya’s Chant
Author/s Ashwin Sanghi
Publisher Westland India
Year published 2010
ISBN 13 9789380658674
Goodreads link Link
Flipkart link Link
Amazon link Link