Human remains found in a barrel in an upmarket area of South Delhi, and a serial killer on the loose, right in the middle of Delhi’s bustling streets,—this is the crime thriller Private Delhi, a novel by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson.
“I’ve read so many crime thrillers from Scandinavian countries. The thriller is usually set in deserted and abandoned places...we wanted a killer who has anonymity and is lost among the millions,” says Sanghi.
This is Sanghi’s second thriller with Patterson, who has already written several books in the Private series. For those who are familiar with Patterson’s works, will see the return of the character Jack Morgan- but in an Indian setting, along with dark and brooding protagonist Santosh Wagh.
Delhi is different…it has such in-your-face culture... Besides the strong cultural vibe, there’s power play, political intrigue, and the media element... You’ll see how there’s a power struggle between the Chief Minister and Lt. Governor
“The first novel, Private India was set in Mumbai, and had a distinct Bollywood flavour. The second book is set in Delhi, as I felt that Delhi can just lend itself to crime thrillers,” says Sanghi. Why does he think so? “Most cities have degenerated. Delhi is different…it has such a refreshing and in-your-face culture. It has so much going on, besides the strong cultural vibe, there’s power play, political intrigue, and the media element. And it’s these very aspects which we’ve used in the story. You’ll see how there’s a power struggle between the Chief Minister and Lt. Governor. There’s a medical element as well.”
Clearly for Sanghi, Delhi was the right choice for the novel. “It has the perfect mix of everything. It is the foodies delight, and the political capital. It is seeped in history. I mean, this is one city which has traces of Mughals, Rajputs and British.”
The duo have worked hard to do justice to the city. “We’ve been very cautious. We’ve included all the positive and negative aspects about Delhi,” he says. The story will come to life for Delhiites, says Sanghi. They will read about familiar places, such as Greater Kailash, Vasant Vihar, Parliament Street and Paranthe Wali Gali, and there is taste of Delhi’s famous street food as well. “Non-Delhiites will get a good grasp of Delhi after they read this book. That’s the job of authors, to make new things sound familiar, and to present familiar aspects in a new light,” adds Sanghi.
Sanghi has written several books with mythological and theological themes. The Private Series was his first attempt with crime thrillers. He says, “In 2014, when I started writing the crime noveI, I felt confident and a rush of power. I realized with crime, I could make or break lives of characters. And I had the support of James, who is already a crime thriller veteran. I had to be careful as well- as a thriller writer, you need to perfectly balance surprise and suspense, and you need to make sure the characters and plotline doesn’t become predictable.”
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