Erin G. (Dulles, VA)
Timely, thoughtful thriller
Ranjit Singh is a complex, fascinating protagonist and his presence makes this book a consistently compelling read. Anyone who loves classic, John LeCarre-style thrillers will really enjoy the mixture of international intrigue and thoughtfully portrayed characters. The glimpses of Sikh life and beliefs, in addition to the contrasting views of American and Indian culture, made this a one-of-a-kind read. I hope this will be the start of a series. I'd be very interested in reading more novels with Ranjit Singh as the main character. I was less enamored with Anna, who was possibly too enigmatic, but all in all I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the genre.
William E. (Honolulu, HI)
A Cape Cod Caper
Interesting book. It reminded me of a Norman Mailer screenplay in Provincetown. I found the military flashbacks a little jarring and the plot was fairly formulaic. The best part for me was the cultural dynamics between the locals between Ranjit as well as the Senator and even in Ranjit's family.....
Shirley D. (Amherst, MA)
Ahmad's The Caretaker, is a page-turner. The main character is well-portrayed but others are much less memorable. The action moves the plot right along – Not a novel long remembered but it can keep the reader guessing and reading for the next action - the next, then the next and then the next. Plan to have time to read this one - you won't want to put it down.
William Y. (Lynchburg, VA)
A.X. Ahmad's The Caretaker, a review
As with most debut novels, "The Caretaker" exhibits both the promise and the blemishes of much new fiction. A character-driven mystery, it features Ranjit Singh, a disgraced former officer in the Indian army. That Singh happens to be a Sikh makes him unique in today's crowded crime market, and allows Ahmed to explore cultural differences in both India and the United States. A rather pedestrian plot, mainly set in Martha's Vineyard, finally gets resolved (while allowing for a continuation of what might become a series for Singh), but with few twists or surprises.
Ahmad's writing lacks much flair, and he is at his best in set pieces rather than continued narrative. An adequate mystery, but hardly a page-turner, The Caretaker nonetheless shows considerable potential and a sequel could easily expand on the groundwork laid out in this introductory effort.
Harriette K. (Northbrook, IL)
Ranjit Singh is a former officer in the Indian army. Disgraced after a court martial and prison sentence following a disastrous military operation, he takes his wife and child to the U.S. where he finds work, finally, as a caretaker in Martha's Vineyard. He is in charge of large homes that are used by the wealthy during the summer months and then closed down for the winter. Circumstances bring him to temporary shelter in the closed home of a powerful U.S, Senator. Then, further circumstances lead him and the reader on a wild journey in which Ranjit uses all his military training and skills to save his family and himself while trying to solve a mystery. If I reveal more of the plot, I will do disservice to the reader. It is enough to say that I was engrossed from beginning to end, The writer has written a masterful thriller, and has also explained many things about the Sikh religion that was a mystery to this reader. I especially like a story that also educates, and this one does. I highly recommend this tale to anyone who loves suspense.
Joyce W. (Rochester, MN)
Author has potential.
I enjoyed this book, but it could have been better. The author has a lot of potential but tried to do too much in one book.
The cultural and financial differences of the characters were well laid out. The selling of government secrets would make a book by itself, thus it was not fully developed. The senator's marriage and child is another area that needed more depth. Ranjit and his wife's relationship left unanswered questions. Very interesting issues raised but left unfulfilled. I feel the author's future books will be better if he doesn't have so many things going on at the same time.
Kate S. (Arvada, CO)
Family Man caught up in thriller
The book was a good read that was filled with enough suspense and story line that it kept my attention to the end. I learned some interesting facts both about India and the people of that country.
I enjoyed the relationship between Ranjit and his daughter; I felt that it gave a good understanding of his character, and love of his
Family, which to me, that was the center of the story . He was a good guy who got caught up in a tangle of circumstances. Some he handled better then others .