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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.
Kathy S. (Oshkosh, WI)
The Caretaker by A.X. Ahmad
The story just did not hold my interest very well.
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!
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.
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.
Peg S. (Durham, NC)
A very good read, with tension, several different cultures, sex and mystery. I know more about Sikh's now, and what's under their turbans, and why. I also understand more about Pakistan and India and their towering mountains and all that snow and conflict. I had always visualized, mistakenly, sweltering heat..
Trezeline B. (Columbia, MD)
A Good Mystery
I really enjoyed this story. It had a lot of twists and turns which kept the reader guessing at the solution. It is a love story, a mystery and a thriller. The ending was disappointing. I felt like the author was not sure how to end his tale so he simply stopped writing.
Brenda S. (Forest Hill, MD)
The Caretaker Review
I enjoy reading books by debut authors because I feel that they probably have been thinking about the story for awhile and want to give it everything they've got! I also enjoy reading stories of suspense and espionage and "The Caretaker" fulfills all of these criteria.
The story is about Ranjit Singh, who is a former member of the Indian military who is dishonorably discharged. He is forced to leave his country along with his family and moves to America. When he moves his family to America, he is forced to work odd jobs to support his family. The story mostly takes place in Martha's Vineyard where Ranjit is a landscaper, however, after the summer months, he is able to find work as a caretaker of the large homes of the wealthy after they leave from the summer.
I thought that the plot and characters in the story were well thought out and developed, however, there were some parts of the story that were unbelievable and a little far fetched to me but not enough that I didn't still enjoy the story. For instance, I found it hard to believe that Ranjit would allow himself to have relations with Anna, the senator's wife, while trying desperately to free his wife and child from imprisonment and deportation.
Even though there were parts of the story I didn't like, I would still recommend others to read "The Caretaker" because as I said before the basic plot was well executed. I give it 3.5 stars.