Norman G. (Washougal, WA)
Hard to commend but still enlightening
I had a difficult time accepting the characters as real people. Each seemed to be more stereotypical than original, and often they acted different from expectations of how they felt. It was hard to find sympathy or identify with anyone of them and this took away from the enjoyment of the story. I did find the storyline readable but then again I can find redeeming values in most books. I can recommend the novel but only if you check it out from a library and save your money.
Daniel A. (Naugatuck, CT)
I enjoyed reading this story, but something kept bothering me in some parts of this book; I had some minor difficulty in the dialogue. Sometimes I didn't know who was talking, or I thought another character was speaking, and it disrupted my flow of reading; I had to reread sentences or a paragraph over, but maybe it's just me. I glanced at some of the other reviews and no one else mentioned trouble with the dialogue. I also noticed on my copy of the ARC there are two publication dates - one in May 2013 on the spine and back cover, and one in August on the front cover. Maybe the author is in the middle of a major rewrite? I need to compare the finished product to the ARC for my final analysis.
Note from BookBrowse: There are always minor edits between the ARC and the finished book but unlikely to be a significant rewrite. This book is scheduled to publish in late May.
Linda M. (Windsor, CA)
Review of The Caretaker
I really enjoyed this book. Found it to be fast-paced and well-plotted. I liked the way the protagonist's background story unfolded slowly throughout the book. I thought the characters were well written and believable. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense or political intrigue.
Joyce K. (Conway, AR)
The premise of this book is the entanglement of an Indian caretaker with a powerful US senator. It attempt to deal with cultural bias, espionage, political allegiances, romance, and seems to not do any of it very well. It uses the technique flashbacks to tell the story of Ranjit Singh, a Sikkh army officer, who has a shameful past which has forced him to establish a life for his family outside of India. I have read many books that use this technique some more successfully than others. It was the weakest part of the story. I also found the relationship between Ranjit the Senator's wife not very believable. I think the book attempted to include too many elements and came off flat rather than suspenseful. The characters could have been interesting but weren't. I just never felt any real momentum building like I would have expected with what was suppose to be a thriller.
The story just did not hold my interest very well.
Kathy S. (Oshkosh, WI)
The Caretaker by A.X. Ahmad
Others have described this book as a "thriller" and a "novel about clashing cultures and painful histories", and I would agree. I enjoyed the author's flashback approach to explaining the main character's (Ranjit) back story and felt it helped to build suspense. I thought the author did a great job evoking time and place in India, Martha's Vineyard and Boston - lots of little details that drew me into the story and made me feel part of it. The plot was engaging and held my interest until the last page. My only complaint is that I had some difficulty in the middle of the story believing the way that Ranjit assumed that the Senator's wife would help him and be interested in his problem, although it was clarified in the end. Overall, an excellent, engaging debut!
Esther L. (Newtown, PA)
Interesting Political Thriller
The Caretaker is a political thriller whose main character is Ranjit Singh, a Sikh Captain who had commanded an elite army squad on a glacier on the border between India and Pakistan. The present story takes place on Martha's Vineyard with flashbacks to the mission that costs Ranjit his career in India.The book is fast paced, filled with an interesting look into the Sikh faith, Indian and Pakistani relations, North Korean shenanigans and a love story to keep things interesting. The story ends abruptly but leaves you waiting for books two and three of the planned trilogy. I liked the book and put it on my husband's to read pile.
Toby S. (Seattle, WA)
Very captivating novel with many intrigues
Having just finished "The Caretaker" A .X. Ahmad, I realized that I had stopped reading only once to take a break while reading this captivating novel. The pace of the plot was in the fast "thriller" category, and the several simultaneous themes were brought to a climax with much clever and ingenious techniques. The protagonist (a former Captain in the Indian army in its battles with Pakistan who has moved his family to the US) was a most sympathetic character. While by no means did I find the plot truly plausible (I can't imagine it REALLY being realistic)), it was an entertaining and absorbing read especially when I suspended my normal common sense. The author is obviously knowledgeable of the countries in which the novel takes place and overall it was very much an impressive literary debut.