Thursday, May 16, 2013

ARC Review: The Caretaker by A. X. Ahmad

The Caretaker
Author: A. X. Ahmad
Publication: Minotaur Books (May 21, 2013)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: THE CARETAKER was a wonderful suspense novel that was so well-written that I didn't even notice the prose because I was so involved in the story. Ranjit Singh is a Sikh and a disgraced army officer who has brought his family to the US to make a new life for them. But, after working unhappily in his wife's uncle's store, he has moved his family to Martha's Vineyard and become a landscaper. However, winter is coming, the jobs are ending, the house they are renting is falling apart, and his wife is sinking into depression. 

When the wife of a Senator he worked for during the summer offers him a caretaking job and leads to other jobs, he feels confident that they will survive the winter. But a series of break-ins makes the area dangerous. When the furnace in their rental house dies, he moves his family into the Senator's house. Then armed men break in searching for something and start a string of events that involve international politics and Singh's own past as a soldier in the Indian Army.

The story has a marriage that is breaking, an affair that has no future, clashes with Homeland Security and all sorts of dangers. Through it all Singh holds fast to the plan to save his family and shows both strength and honor. Singh is a well-rounded character. We learn about his past through the dreams and sometimes hallucinations he still has about the events that ended his army career.

Fans of suspense novels with unique main characters will really enjoy THE CARETAKER.

Favorite Quote:
"This place—" James gestures at the corridor. "—this whole place is full of men hiding from something. Druggies here, and plenty of ex-cons. But you, Captain, you're different. You show up with a turban and a beard, then it's gone. Now you have some sort of microfilm. And last night the elevator was working, so I went down. Tow men were in the lobby, asking the night manager questions. They showed him a picture, an old picture, but it was you, wearing an army uniform."
I got this eARC through Minotaur Books' Early Reviewer program. You can buy your copy here

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