7 Oct 2013

The Caretaker by A.X. Ahmad - Book Review



   
Title                  The Caretaker
Author               A.X. Ahmad
ISBN                  978-93-5029-996-8
Publisher            HarperCollins Publishers India
Price                  Rs.399/-
Genre                Thriller
Rating                3.7/5


About the author

Mr. A.X. Ahmad's grew up in India, was educated at MIT and worked for many years as an International architect before taking up writing full time. This is his first novel. But as Amin Ahmad, his short stories and essays have been published in many literary magazines.

                                                    Visit his website à here

The Synopsis

Affected from a haunting hallucination from his dishonorable past in Indian Military Service, Captain Ranjit Singh is now an illegal Sikh immigrant in America with his wife Preetam and his young daughter Shanti trying to start a new life in Boston. After couple of years working in his uncle's grocery store, he manages to find the caretaker job for few wealthy residents in Martha’s Vineyard. One of his clients is Senator Neals, an African-American politician who just returns back as a Hero after his visit from North Korea and his wife Anna Neals.

With heavy oil leakage in his rented house and having no other choice, one day Ranjit has to secretly move his family to the Senator’s vacant house to survive the winter. Unfortunately one night two armed men breaks into the house and so they are forced to flee, fearing of getting arrested for trespassing. The little girl, Shanti grabs one of the wooden dolls from Anna’s collection just before they escapes. But soon he learns those men are after that particular doll. Tangled in between some deadly people who try to retrieve the doll and a threat to his family, he is caught in the middle of a political scandal.

So who are these mysterious men? What is the secret behind that doll? Will Ranjit be able to unravel the mystery? Can he save his family in time? Did he overcome the past event which spoiled his life back in India?

Having so much to do but with little resources and short time span, all hell breaks loose and now Ranjit is a wanted man with a stake on his life.

My View

Basically I am a slow reader and especially with my reading block, I take days to complete a book. But gladly this novel broke my block and kept me engaged from the beginning till the end. When I first saw the cover, I started liking it for its simplicity. And I must mention this is a well written, page turning book and I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. At the end of the day, I am a happy reader who got this intriguing novel from the Harper Collins book review program, in Indiblogger.

The Caretaker is definitely an engaging thriller. The story moves back and forth between past and present - Siachen Glaciers where a secret military operation takes place and Martha’s Vineyard where the hero is on the run. The action is split between Indo - Pak border and the chases in Boston and at the island. And I appreciate that the protagonist’s haunting past is effectively interlinked with the present day especially during his tough times. It was an easy flow of narration that it made the story even more gripping. Also thankfully the author didn't go much into those confused political details.

Each characters are etched in a realistic way that even their flaws helped the story in taking it to the next level. The book also showcases the immigrants’ lives in U.S. From the Brazilian ferry driver to the handicapped Vietnamese military veteran and that Arab old man, they all have their own characterization and helps the lead guy to carry on with his mission further.

With some twists coming through out and the plot moves along so quickly I found it was hard to put the book down. The beginning chapters made me glued to it that I didn't even want to skip a word whereas I found it bit dragging with some prolonged scenes in the last few chapters, especially, those intimate moments between Ranjit and Anna, cooking good food and wanting for more Tea, that too with his injury and when his family is suffering in deportation. To me, it was bit of a cliche. But altogether the book ended better with an opening to the sequel. It was like watching a fast paced action movie.

Overall I found this as an entertaining and engrossing read. I may not call it as a must read book but without any second thought, I recommend this if you are into any mystery and thrillers, like me.

You can read the first chapter of the book à here.

A promising debut novel from the author and I am looking forward to his next book with the hero of our times, Ranjit as the lead, and it will be a sequel to this novel because the mission is still on...

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review, sounds promising.

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  2. Hmm That's the reason I guess you were away from blogging for quite sometime... :D
    BTW Nice Review and the Books look nice going by your review...May be If can then I will read it.. :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. nice review! and by your view this book is a promising one!

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  4. ah, i love mysteries especially murder mysteries, but not necessarily all kinds of thrillers...good review rat

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  5. Sounds interesting. ...should read it when I do get the chance :)

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