Private India: City on Fire

Private India: City on Fire

Posted by jack_miller | Published 5 months ago

With 1952 ratings

By: James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi

Purchased At: $0.35 (117 used & new offers)

When Jack Morgan opens a branch of Private in Mumbai, a mysterious killer threatens to destroy the agency-and the city-from the inside out.
When Jack Morgan opens the Mumbai branch of Private, the world's most elite detective agency, he hands the reins to top agent Santosh Wagh. Now, in this teeming metropolis of over thirteen million people where the guilty have everywhere to hide, Santosh goes on the hunt for one elusive killer: a killer who is targeting seemingly unconnected women and placing strange objects at their death scenes in a series of chilling rituals.
As the Private team races to find a link that will lead them to the next victim, an unseen menace threatens to destroy the agency from within-and plunge the city into chaos. With countless lives hanging in the balance, Santosh must confront the demons of his past . . . before Private India meets an explosive end.
I have read some of the reviews and find it interesting that so many reviewers were so upset and had trouble reading the book because it had some strange names. The title says India. Do you expect names to be Jane, Tom, Rex, Harry, John, Jack, etc.?

There are TV shows where the stories are true, but with the names changed to protect the innocent. This book is similar in that the names have changed, but the template for this book is the same as earlier Private books. Change the names to those I listed above and the rest of the book would be indistinguishable from any other Private book location. Reading the book gave me very little sense of India or Mumbai. Yes, there were a few things "Indian," but not enough for any sense of place.

The story was dull, bounced around too much, had uninteresting characters, tried to add a little suspense, tried to foster a bit of terrorism and touch on issues with Pakistan. A next to useless description of Thugs and how they fit into the culture didn't make any difference. The best "scene" was the Rupesh/Santosh/vultures story and even that was boring. I didn't care that Hari killed himself nor did I care for any of the characters. They were stock characters and of a stock that is old and dull.

The previous Private books were a bit better than this one. Hopefully the next is better, but ... Las Vegas?

- leo_stewart

The story was very well conceived and flowed. The problem I had in staying in touch with who was whom was the language. Perhaps the Indian names were properly selected and mean more to the native reader, but to a foreigner (American) I got confused who each was. The locations would have been helped by a map and some other geographical visual. I kept trying to visualize the scene and people and at times was at a complete loss. I have never been to London or Paris and didn't have as much problem with those venues. I suspect I was trying too hard to identify with the characters and their names didn't fit anyone I had in mind. Would a picture of each person or byline of who he was in relation to the main characters or action might have helped me. Anyway this language thing did distract me far too often and took me away from the artistry of the story and novel.

- eric_nelson

Bollywood (India's Hindi movie industry based out of Mumbai formerly Bombay) is not known for action-thrillers though it does make a lot of thrillers with murder-suspense, terrorism, and mostly gangster themes and it would do well to read this book and consider a movie adaptation of the same! The joint duo of American, James Patterson (Alex Cross novels) and Indian, Ashwin Sanghi (apparently India's "Lord of The Rings" meets "Da Vinci Code" thriller writer who has so far written three novels that I have not read) do such a superb Indo-American co-authoring of a pulse-pounding, page-turning, and edge-of-the-seat body-pileup thriller filled with myriad colorful Indian characters based in India's NYC-meets-LA city of Mumbai, that it makes you wonder: is this book a mish-mash of Bollywood thrillers or is it custom-written to be adapted into a Bollywood movie? The book moves at such a lightning pace that I finished it over a weekend (my fastest read ever)! The only element missing in this novel, are the songs-and-dances!! However, to be fair, the motive (trying not to give any spoilers) behind the serial-killings was a little unconvincing and the climax, a bit of a let-down but it would make sense to Indians and those who are aware (SPOILER ALERT!!) that there were indeed a string of murders committed by an unknown and un-apprehended killer (or killers?) who stalked the streets of Mumbai and Kolkatta back in '85-'90 and who murdered about 26 homeless people in both cities put together, by smashing their heads with a stone (earning the name "the stoneman" or "pathar-maar" in Hindi). Rumor has it, the killer(or killers?) had a religious/superstitious belief that pleasing a goddess with a certain number of human sacrifices would rid themselves of their impotence. Another historical accuracy and factual reference of this novel is the that of India's "Thugee" cult of murderers who used to kill and rob hordes of travelers by either first hoodwinking them to gain their trust and strangling them with a handkerchief ("rumaal" in Hindi) in their sleep or just ambushing and strangling them. The British did eliminate this cult in pre-independence India (refer to Pierce Brosnan starrer "The Deceivers"). The Hindi word for cheat is "thug" which was anglicized to become the current English word "thug", which means hood. Apart from that, the city of Mumbai and India in general being a frequent target of terrorists sponsored by her neighbor to the west, was dead-on. I enjoyed reading all of this material and was beaming in approval at the accuracy of this novel in blending history and fact with fiction.

- adeline_murphy

I truly have enjoyed all the Private novels by James Patterson. As with his Ten novel, it took a while for me to get into this because of the reader's heavy Indian accent. I love books on CD, as I work from home, so after work, I got to the lake, and listen to my books as I watch the beauty around me. I suggest all his books to anyone. The man can write, and takes you right in to the action!

- rodrigo_gonzales

I positively LOVE the "PRIVATE" novels! Will not do a BOOK REVIEW, other than say I was absorbed from start/finish. Would recommend. As an aside, spent years in India (Foreign Service) and was wondering if I'd get the flavor of the country in this novel, I did.

- sarai_hill

Great beginning and very good ending - I felt compelled to finish the book. The middle of the book was a little too muddled. Tended to lose the plot line with the authors' heavy handed deep-dive into the corruption of Mumbai politics. Left me wondering if there were any protagonists left. Almost discarded the book - too darned depressing. The story slowly emerged from the muck and kept you on the edge of your seat at the end. The wrap-up on the terrorist angle was a little too rushed - probably could have benefited from another couple chapters. One other critique - the various chapters where you see the story from the perpetrator's viewpoint was interesting, but it seems to be a Private series' trademark. Patterson & co. need to be careful that the books don't become even more "cookie cutter."

- paityn_campbell

Having read all of the Private series and enjoyed them all, with the exception of this one. Private India has few redeeming qualities our main character is egotistical a drunk and not much of an investigator. the writer ( I don't believe James Patterson should have got involved on this one) doesn't seem to have grasped that his lead investigator is a bit of a moron ! Is James Paaterson falling foul of becoming greedy and turning out tripe much like Wilbur Smith of late?
Don't waste your time.

- dayana_reyes

Jack Morgan's LA based world-wide supreme private investigation agency has spread to Mumbai. It's head is Santosh Wagh, brought to Jack Morgan's attention following a coordinated terrorist railway bombing 2 years earlier. Santosh is an excellent investigator despite a drink problem, exacerbated by his driving when his wife and children were killed. His current problems begin with a series of seemingly unrelated murders, all women, that follow a pattern. Strangulated with a yellow scarf with trinkets attached or surrounding them Santosh has a strong team, Mubeen the medical forensic expert, Hari, the technology geek and Nisha his top crime colleague. They are in the radar of the Jihadi outfits with potential outside threats from the powerful militant Mujahideen who have sympathies with the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Mumbai police are supportive of Santosh and his team as long as they are kept informed. Other figures of authority, particularly the Attorney general, Nalin D'Souza, are more autonomous. Powerful mobsters, Munna and his henchman, Nimboo are even more dangerous, with their widespread control of the Mumbai crime scene and access to potent weapons.

As the killings mount up daily, fresh enquiries link them to the nine avators of the Hindu Goddess, Durga. Santosh is struggling for clues to the killer's identity and to prevent further imminent, predictable killings. When Jack Morgan arrives in Mumbai, for personal reasons, the pace of the narrative steps up. The chase for the culprit requires detailed detective work and a large modicum of luck. Jack's organisation is seemingly being undermined. The finale is the best part of the story as the truth and motives behind the crimes are revealed with a potentially massive disaster pursued in nail-biting fashion.

The bulk of this book is a detailed account of Mumbai and it's history, clearly the work of Ashwin Sanghi, an author in his own right. The plot is straightforward without any major surprises. The pace is steady and the read plods along until the latter stages, but even then there is a predictability of the outcome, even with the twist. Short chapters with short sentences; Patterson in outlay but not typical of his authorship. A fair read for his legion of fans, no doubt, but a routine publication under Patterson's name with a major input from Ashwin Sanghi. A recurring complaint has been the Indian terminology. I admit to having a notepad and pen as I read it. More genuine Patterson writing input, please.

- aaron_rivera

If someone had told me this was James Patterson's first book i wouldn't have been suprised, the writing is well below the standard i have come to expect of James, wasted words to simply pad out a sentence make it read like a schoolboy's essay. Perhaps the poor standard is due to the collaboration as the story in itself is fairly good so long as you can overlook sentences like "they waited while his lightning mind came to the conclusion" another problem which may well be just mine but the multitude of indian names made for very hard reading, you didn't even know the gender of the person intill you are told. All in all a very disappointing book.

- ramon_edwards

Crazy Good as usual. How Mr Patterson creates his spiders web of intrigue is unbelievable. He creates characters who are believable and loveable and not entirely incorruptible. Private is not just a team they are Family and Jack is always there for his team. The storyline was very sad and cruel and showed a level of corruption that seems unimaginable. As per usual I learned a lot about the culture of India as Mr Patterson likes to educate his audience by letting you experience the story from more than one angle. This story needs to be revisited as Santosh's character needs to find inner peace and survive his demons. Private has more work to do in India. There I go again always wanting more!! Can't wait for the sequels. Great value.

- dominick_cook

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