A gripping, evocative thriller about a disgraced Sikh Indian Army captain who works as the caretaker for a U.S. Senator’s Martha's Vineyard estate, and becomes ensnared in the Senator's shadowy world.
Ranjit Singh, a former Indian Army Captain trying to escape a shameful past, now lives on Martha’s Vineyard, and works as a caretaker for the vacation homes of the rich and powerful. One harsh winter, Ranjit needs a place to stay, and illegally moves his family into an empty, luxurious vacation home belonging to an African American Senator. Ensconced in the house, he tries to forget his brief affair with Anna, the Senator’s wife, and focuses on providing for his family. But one night, their idyll is shattered when mysterious armed men break into the house, searching for an antique porcelain doll. Forced to flee, Ranjit is hunted by unknown forces, and becomes drawn into the Senator’s shadowy world. To save his family and solve the mystery of the doll, he must join forces with Anna, who has her own dark secrets. As he battles to save his family, Ranjit’s painful past resurfaces, and he must finally confront the hidden event that destroyed his Army career - and forced him to leave India.
Tightly plotted, action-packed, smart, and surprisingly moving, A. X. Ahmad's The Caretaker takes us from the desperate world of migrant workers to the elite African American community of Martha’s Vineyard, and a secret high-altitude war between India and Pakistan.
©2013 A. X. Ahmad (P)2013 Macmillan Audio
Sadly, Sam Dastor, whose superlative reading of the Vish Puri series by Tarquin Hall, is one of my all time favorite listens, was not nearly as good here. In fact, it was because Mr. Dastor was the reader that I decided to try listening to this new author. The Vish Puri series uses only Indian voices and Mr. Dastor excels at that. But the Boston accents and the female voices left much to be desired in this book, and the awkward pronunciation simply distracted from the story. The story itself starts out well enough, but by the middle had started to go downhill. The plot becomes unbelievable, the characters unattractive, and some of the intimate scenes add nothing but a sense of discomfort. I think there may be a sequel but I will be listening to that.
The reader is an East Indian gentleman. His "voices" were difficult to distinguish amongst characters.
The so-called hero was a disappointing man, unfaithful to his wife for no good reason - yet we were meant to sympathize with this relationship. The two main criminal characters were not dealt with adequately in the wrap up. Aspects of characters - painstakingly described, such as the 7 year old daughter wanting to be a lawyer were not tied up at the end. If this is the first of a series, the author suspended his characters and story at a poorly chosen point in time and plot. Altogether, weak and disappointing.
There are spots where the writing is really good, and others where it reads like a new writer. The narrator does the Indian accents very well, but all the Americans sound as though he is trying to give them a Southern accent mixed with a Bostonian accent, really pretty bad.
I did not care for the ending. It felt like a "lead in" for the next book. If a writer is good, they don't need to do this, each book can stand on it's own.
Meaningful on many levels -- politically, socially, psychologically, ethically, regarding government and military matters, and warm (and not so warm) family and love relationships -- being well researched with an intelligent plot development and fascinating characters, and containing twists, turns and exciting buildups of suspense throughout, this is a great book, excellently read! I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, "The Last Taxi Ride."
Rym Rytr (rhyme writer)
Sam Dastor is an EXCELLENT narrator!!! His "India" accent in Keating's Inspector Gothe series made me look for other books which he narrates. While he hold true to his abilities, this book itself lacks the ability to hold my interest. Predictable situations where the Handyman is alone with the rich housewife... confrontational exchanges with the local bigiots and bad-boys... and a slow start, with little action, made me put it down and go on to something else.
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