Search This Blog

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Private India: City on Fire by James Patterson and

Read as an audio book.

This *might* have been better read on paper, so to speak.  It wasn't that I struggled with the narrators accent, I struggled with the names and the narrators overall intonation.  His voice wasn't as succinct and clear as I like to hear on an audio book, so I had difficulty with the volume, pronunciation, and  trying to figure out who was who because most of the characters sounded so similar.

Premise of the book is Santosh, head of Private: India in Mumbai, is battling private and external demons.  His wife and child are dead after he plowed their car into a tree on a hairpin turn, leaving him injured mentally and physically.  Rupesh, head policeman (I forget his title) has been angry with him for years after the accident.   Externally, a serial killer is strangling women with yellow scarves and arranging their bodies according to the nine phases or avatars of Durga.   And much like the different faces of the Goddess Durga, nothing in India is what it seems on the surface.
There was a small ISI terrorist subplot that was woven throughout -  but this little subplot tendril would crop up at odd times until it's grand finale that felt more like the author going, oh, this sounds cool because I can add a gun fight!

Speaking of guns, the frequent mention of Nisha wearing a Glock and taking comfort in her Glock on her hip was not lost on me.  What I questioned was do Indians carry the same thoughts about guns as American's do?  Is it a prevalent part of their culture and would it be predominant part of a Indian female detective/former policewoman's wardrobe?  The men didn't seem to think about their gun as much as Nisha did, and when it came down to it, her gun didn't do her a heck of a lot of good. 

And, speaking of gun fights, nobody is going to carry a gold plated Desert Eagle in the back of their pants (or even the small of their back) and if said gun is as difficult to fire (as our fine Jack Morgan pointed out), a drugged up, underweight prostitute is NOT going to be able to smoothly pull the gun from someone's pants and fire it with any kind of reliability.  

Just sayin'. 

So, an interesting read in a fascinating city in an incredible country.  I appreciated that this wasn't the usual "India is so great!" diatribe, but a look at it's dark and seedy underbelly, the corruption that is rampant at all levels, the hypocrisy of individuals, and how money can grease a lot of wheels. 

The Tower of Silence was so intriguing I had to look it up - did you know there is a vulture shortage due to habitat loss and the birds are on the cusp of extinction due to the use of an anti-inflammatory  used in cattle that is fatal to vultures?  And this happened in the 2000's.    I also thought using the Hindu Goddess Durga and her nine avatars to correlate with the nine murdered women was well done.  It did make me wonder though,  how much of the book had been "Americanized" for the target audience? 

Ultimately, mixed reviews on the plot and execution of said plot, but I enjoyed the setting immensely. Recommended if you've read previous Private books. 

No comments:

Popular Posts