Book Review - The Caretaker

Book: The Caretaker

Author: A.X Ahmad

About the book (from the cover):

Who is the caretaker hiding in the shadows of the Martha’s Vineyard mansions he tends?

Back in India, Ranjit Singh commanded an elite army squad. But that was years ago, before his Army career ended in dishonor, shattering his reputation. Driven from his homeland, he is now a caretaker on the exclusive resort island of Martha’s Vineyard, looking after the vacation homes of the rich and powerful. One harsh winter, faced with no other choice, he secretly moves his family into the house of one of his clients, an African-American Senator. Here, his wife and daughter are happy, and he feels safe for the first time in ages. But Ranjit’s idyll is shattered when mysterious men break into the house. Pursued and hunted, Ranjit is forced to enter the Senator’s shadowy world, and his only ally is Anna, the Senator’s beautiful wife, who has secrets of her own. Together, they uncover a trail of deception that leads from the calm shores of the Vineyard to countries half a world away. And when his investigation stirs up long forgotten events, the caretaker must finally face the one careless decision that ruined his life- and forced him to leave India.

A gripping tale of hidden histories, political intrigue and dangerous attractions, A. X. Ahmad's The Caretaker introduces a new hero for our times: an immigrant caught between two worlds and a man caught between two loves.

Rating: 3.5/5

Now for my view:

I have so much time on my hands these days that writing and reading is all that I do when at home, apart from the absolutely necessary evil that cooking is. But that aside, I decided to finish reading some of the books that were pending for review for a long time. So this is when I took up ‘The Caretaker’ by A.X Ahmad. I must say it had been waiting in my shelf for a couple of months. And now that I’m done reading it, I realize what a blunder it was to not read it sooner.

As you might have read in the blurb, ‘The Caretaker’ is the story of a man’s melee with his past and his efforts to save his present. But he finds himself in the middle of an international scheme. It is the story of Ranjit Singh, a former Captain of an elite squad in the Indian Army and a devout Sikh. A victim of untoward circumstances, he was court-martialed and thrown into the Indian Army prison for a few years before he moved to Boston. His family which includes a clinically depressed wife and a daughter, are with him in the US as he struggles to make something out of this life.

One thing leads to another and he finds himself as the caretaker in Martha’s Vineyard, an island near Boston. It is there that he looks after several bungalows of the rich who are out on vacation to escape the cold, icy weather. In one of those very Bungalows which belong to African-American senator Clayton Neal, he moves in with his wife and daughter when his cottage is damaged. And that’s when all hell breaks loose for one night armed men break in searching the house. Ranjit Singh manages to save his family that night but the nightmare doesn't end there for his wife and daughter are detained for illegal immigration. Ranjit Singh finds himself in the face of a storm. How does he fight back in a foreign land? What are the men after? What runs havoc in an already shattered life of Singh and his family? Is he able to save them? And what does he stumble upon in the process? Well these are questions that this wonderful book will answer for which I’d recommend a read.

A Thriller laced with emotions.

Apart from the plot and the narration which is absolutely high quality for a first time author, there are also certain other characteristics of ‘The Caretaker’ that I particularly liked. One of them being the author’s ability to keep the character of Ranjit Singh real. Hence, a thriller with a surprisingly good emotional quotient.

The story is powerfully crafted moving between continents, India and the US, Ranjit Singh’s past and present and of course the suspense element.

Compelling Read!

The Caretaker for me was an interesting ride which I finished in a couple of hours. Un-put-down-able certainly! So read it for it is definitely one that should be missed.