Tag Archive | Books

Book Review:- Private India

When I saw a book; a thriller nonetheless, co authored by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson in the pre-order section of Flipkart, I was excited. Then when I saw that the same book was up for review under BlogAdda’s Book Review Program, I jumped at the chance and signed up for it. I got selected for the first time to review a book under BlogAdda’s Book Review Program!!! Yayy!! Though I read the book within the stipulated time, the review got delayed due to my hectic work life. Sigh!! That deserves a post in itself. Anyway so here goes the review.

 Book Details :-
Author: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson

ISBN: 9781780891736

Publisher: Random House

Price: Rs. 350 (Rs 193 On Amazon)

Genre: Crime and Thriller

The Book Blurb:-

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, hed have his work cut out at the best of times but this case has him battling Mumbai’s biggest ganglord 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.

19186402I have never read any work of either Ashwin Sanghi or James Patterson and hence I am unfamiliar with their individual writing styles. Also I am unaware of the “Private” series set in other countries. So my review is, you can say, my first impression.

My review:-

The serial killings begin with the murder of a lady doctor from Thailand. She had been strangled using a yellow scarf and small, strange and seemingly unrelated objects had been placed around the body. There is a flower on one hand, and a fork on the other. There is also a small, Viking toy helmet tied to one of her toes. After that, many such killings follow and the Mumbai Police seeks the assistance from the Indian branch of the world’s finest detective agency. Mr. Santosh Wagh and his team from “Private India” join the investigation and the chase to catch the killer begins.

The protagonist, Santosh Wagh, reminded me of Dr. House of the famous series House M.D. because of the cane and drinking habit portrayal of the character. He has a troubled past that haunts him. But I think this “troubled past-addict-brilliant-sharp-fighting inner demon protagonist” characterization has been done to death and readers need a change.

All the characters have been given their respective background stories and are well developed, making the reader relate to their present behaviour. The description of the killer’s own haunting past is good. The story takes the reader all around Mumbai’s famous places from Dharavi to Haji Ali. I guess that is for the benefit of International readers. Again for their knowledge of India (and then we complain about Hollywood movies stereotyping India), I assume, there is Indian history, mythology, Mumbai underworld (gangsters), poverty, godmen, corruption, religion, child abuse, sex, prostitution, transgender sexuality, human trafficking, politics, beggars, begging racket, Bollywood, Mumbai local trains, terrorists, Pakistan’s ISI, match fixing, status of forensic labs in India and of course crime!!! Did the author miss mentioning the famous dabbawallas in there somewhere? I don’t seem to remember 🙂 It seemed as if this is the last work of Ashwin Sanghi so he has tried to put everything in it. Too many subplots have spoiled the story! If you want to write a murder mystery stick to murder and if you want to write a terrorist story stick to that. Moreover,

The plot gives the reader few red herrings which after having watched so many episodes of CSI, CSI NY, Criminal Minds, Castle etc seem pretty obvious as red herrings. Apparently, Ashwin Sanghi is famous for mythological references in his writings. His famous touch is evident in Private India, where we come across insights into an ancient Indian cult “The Thuggees” (which kind of reminded me of that Indiana Jones movie), the Navratri festival and even nine form of Goddess Durga. But there is a slackening in the storyline as the investigation progresses. The final connection between the reason behind the murders and the modus operandi of the killer seems very implausible and not that impressive. The reason behind the killings, the psychology/mindset of the killer and the choices the killer made for his/her identity should have been delved into deeper and should have been better weaved together with the concept of nine forms of Durga and hatred of women. The build up of the suspense to the profile of the killer falls flat somehow near the climax. And when you think the story is over, its not. There is a second parallel plot still remaining to be completed, which makes one think “shouldn’t the side story finish before the main story”?

All the CID and Criminal Minds stuff keep coming in mind while reading the book, especially with the description of high tech gadgets and techniques. Also I wondered does a serial killer actually kill so many people within a week? If a killer is on such a killing spree, can he/she be so calm and normal in appearance and behaviour? Then there is the writing style and the language. Despite the excellent cover, the language gives the book away as not of being of international standard….as being one of common novels that keep releasing in India every month. Maybe the author wanted to keep things simple for all grades of readers. Missing punctuations, inappropriate sentence structures and grammatical mistakes (for example look instead looked in page 98) point towards the need for better proof reading. Excellent proof reading is something I find lacking in Indian paperbacks. This should not have been an issue when there are two authors!

The story is a page turner, without any doubt. But towards the end even if you skip 1-2 pages, you don’t miss much. The short chapters (112 chapters!!) and the large font size help along with the speed of reading making the book a easy breezy read.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5

 This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Day 20: Letting It All Go

I don’t remember the first book I picked up….I think it was an Archie 🙂 After that I moved onto Enid Blyton, Carolyn Keene, Franklin W.Dixon, Erle Stanley Gardner and so on. Our book collection expanded like anything with more contribution from my sister as she is a bookworm!
Many timeless books like Malory towers, St.Clares series were passed on to me by a very dear friend.

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Day 7: Bookstores Vs Websites

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

I have always loved visiting bookstores and book fairs. I still remember Sunday morning trips in Papa’s car (mainly to keep our Premier Padmini  car alive) to the only bookstore to keep books other than study books in our town – NuLite. And I simply loved the book fairs of Russian books that used to come to town every year. But after I reached Class 5, these Russian book fairs stopped coming. 😦 Now in Bangalore, when I go to a mall, I tend to enter bookstores like Crossword, Landmark, Reliance Timeout and browse through all the sections. I like the smell and feel of new books so much! I see so many book lovers sitting cozily on the poufs and sofas reading books at leisure. Do they actually end up buying the book or any book? Or do they just come, sit, read and go? Then it is great for bookstores to indulge such book lovers. And necessarily so given the terrible lack of libraries in the city.

But the question is do I buy any book from bookstore ? I do get motivated to pick up this book and that book but I stop. I stop and using internet I look up the price on online retailers like Flipkart. For example I really wanted to buy “Hercule Poirot The Complete Short Stories” by Agatha Christie which was priced at Rs 599. At that time Flipkart was having a great sale on books and anyway there is always some discount on most of the books. So that book was available for Rs 300 on Flipkart. Now why on earth would I buy any book from any real bookstore?

I am very sure since these websites came in the market, bookstores are bearing heavy losses. Of course the ability to hold a new book, flip through it and just to browse in a physical bookstore is essential for all book lovers. Also one comes to know of different types of books, new releases etc by visiting a bookstore more than a website. Sometimes you enter to pick one particular book but ending up buying three more that you don’t need. 🙂 But in the end money is a big factor! And it’s not some Rs 20- 50 difference..it is a huge difference. I guess eventually online retailers will drive bookstores to bankruptcy and closure. Will the people benefit or lose in the process is the question.

“There is nothing like the smell of a bookstore. If you ask me, it’s actually a combination of smells: part library, part new book, and part expectation for what you might find.” ― Kathryn Fitzmaurice

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Phew!! Just made it today!

The Studies Reloaded

The sense of relief and happiness that all students feel after their exams are over, is indescribable in few words. The exaltation is more if the exam is the last one of whatever course the student had been studying for a long time. The sense of riddance from studying on exam’s eve, doing an “all-nighter”, the nervousness, the nausea induced due to tension, sleepiness in exam hall, sudden blankness shrouding the memory and the postmortem of the question paper; is nothing short of a pleasure comparable to the sensation caused by cocaine (as rumored by drug abusers). And after graduation, often we pledge not to fall again into the trap of education system and its encumbrances. But as I’ve expressed my philosophy earlier, one often meets his destiny in the road he takes to avoid it.

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Vacation Resolutions

New Year Resolutions are such a cliche. Having become wiser I have stopped making customary resolutions on the onset of a new calender year which I have never been able to adhere to anyway. In my present work, I get a whole month summer vacation and that is the time when I make resolutions to do certain things and complete certain tasks every year. So taking a break from my usual quite vocal posts about social issues and being currently uninspired; I have decided to enlist my Vacation Resolutions ( or rather a To-Do list) as my blog page is always open and it will constantly remind me.
  1. Assist Maa in the kitchen and catch up on cooking.
  2. Begin my annual one month morning walk.
  3. Read The Complete Adventures of Feluda by Satyajit Ray (vol 1 & 2), start and finish A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and Freakonomics by Levitt & Dubner (both gifted by a dear friend who didn’t know my taste is mystery and humour…though I think Freakonomics is in humor category isn’t it?)
  4. Clean my room obsessively.
  5. Learn MATLAB 7.0 and practice it.
  6. Watch movies like You’ve Got Mail, Thelma and Louise, The Sting, The Royal Tennenbaums, The Terminal, The First Wives Club, Bonnie and Clyde, Amos and Andrew, Sweet Home Alabama, Space Cowboys, Sleepless in Seattle, My Fair Lady, Severance, The Merchant of Venice, Death at a Funeral, The Devil’s Advocate and more.
  7. Read the 15 blogs I have bookmarked and comment and not to bookmark any more blogs till I have read these.
  8. Convert my baby steps into the blogging world to a stride.
  9. Being alert while filling cooler with water and not to forget the tap is on. (read: Save the Earth!!)
  10. Indulge in food (mostly non veg and pizzas) and mango juice.
May the Force be with me!!

P.S. My vacation started on 18th. Shit! I’m running late by 4 days. (At least got around to make a list today!!!)

The first step– introduction to me

Well i dont know exactly how to begin writing a blog….that has always been the problem in writing diary when i used to that is….whom should i address? Dear Diary is so Archie type….and i cant speak without addressing someone…..there has to be a virtual reader or listener whatever the case may be…..so i used to choose someone or other and then start writing as if talking to that person….so coming back to my dilemma…hmm..what the heck….let the first step of blogging begin with breaking of old habits…..
So thats my pic above….The bookworm is supposed to signify me according to some near and dear ones….but i think my elder sister deserves the title……she can read anything in print….maybe not trashy novels but stuff like fiction, non fiction, philosophy, articles, self help books etc etc….thats fine by me till i m not expected to read philosophical stuff that she found so good… i get put off so easily while reading a novel…some are still half read because somewhere down the line some gory incident or description is there and i m like ugh!! Imagine i even put down a sidney sheldon novel ( a phrase by the way everyone mentions in “books read” in any networking website even if they are not all book readers…i guess thats how much is the popularity of sidney for reasons known to those who have read his work…especially stuff like sands of time!!!! ) cuz there was the description of torture in a jail…..the novel being “If tomorrow comes”…..likewise with “Papillon”….i couldnt get reading beyond the description where they hide something ( i dont remember what) in some unmentionable place in body…..Ugh!!!!!!
Hmmm..so one more thing about me….i love cats…no matter what people think….u know in India cats are not regarded to be good ..and even unlucky if they cross your road….now come on…whats their fault??? all other animals like pigs, buffaloes, cows, dogs and even guys ( who dont stop crossing especially when they see a girl driver coming) can cross road but not cats???? I think more danger lies in encountering a buffalo ( getting a swish of their tails or splattering of mud in which they r usually soaked in) and studies shows more accidents occur due to sudden dash done by dogs and pigs….people are scared of cats’ eyes too……why??? i find them enchanting….people say they r thieves…..Come on one has to fend for oneself….they dont earn u know….people also cite a point that they are not faithful…..yeah so?? its a matter of what a person wants in a pet… i dont want animal saliva on me!! i find their attitude/nature quite like mine… sleepyhead, lazy, pampered, headstrong, inscrutable, aloof, self- sufficient, cool, lovable…. But i wonder how come all the cats i had were in their 9th life??? Sigh!!!!
Total random talk,eh? Welcome to MY RANDOM THOUGHTS!! Hope you, the reader, has a pleasant stay here and is tempted to come back again & again.