A Ranjit Singh Novel
By A.X. Ahmad
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9781250016843, 304pp.)
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
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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.
A. X. AHMAD was raised in India, educated at Vassar College and M.I.T., and has worked as an international architect. As Amin Ahmad, his short stories and essays on immigrant life have been published in The Missouri Review, The Harvard Review, The New England Review, Narrative Magazine and The Good Men Project. He was a finalist for Glimmertrain's Short Story Award, and has been listed in Best American Essays. He lives in Washington, D.C, where he teaches writing.
"This fine thriller debut views disturbing political realism through the lens of Ranjit Singh, a newly immigrated Sikh fleeing danger in India after a politically explosive mistake ends his military career...a cynically smart political thriller that draws parallels of political expediency between Washington deal-brokering and Ranjit’s tragic past. Beyond the masterfully crafted, high-adrenaline story, readers will be fascinated by Ranjit’s strong Sikh faith, rarely seen in American fiction." —Booklist (starred review)
"Combinations of the familiar and the unfamiliar provide a read that moves beyond standard thriller fare. Weaving together Singh’s Sikh faith with very personal moments, taut action sequences, and events with international significance, Ahmad’s thriller should have broad appeal." —Library Journal (starred review)
"Ahmad debuts with a fast-paced literary thriller, shifting action from the desolate ice-clad Siachen glacier separating India and Pakistan to the posh environs of Marthay's Vineyard. . . . Top-notch effort in the first of a promising trilogy." —Kirkus Reviews
"Poignant. . . . A finely textured story of bravery and knavery." —Publishers Weekly
“Told with propulsive narrative drive, The Caretaker weaves a compelling story, beguiling characters, and two exotic locales—India and Martha's Vineyard—into a suspenseful whole. A wonderful debut.” —Richard North Patterson, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"...Exciting and involving." —Wall Street Journal
“The Caretaker” isn’t just a solid thriller, it’s a wonderful novel about clashing cultures and painful histories, held together by Ahmad’s crisp writing and his wonderful character of Ranjit Singh. Shades of Martiz Cruz Smith here, and echoes of Graham Greene. Bravo, A. X. Ahmad.” —T. Jefferson Parker, author of The Jaguar and The Border Lords
“Though A. X. Ahmad's The Caretaker is a tightly wound thriller, it is equally concerned with themes of insiders and outsiders, race, culture and class. From protagonist Ranjit Singh, a Sikh who once held a position of status in the Indian Army and is now a disgraced, reluctant refuge in the US, to the African American Senator who came up from poverty to become a powerful and influential leader, to the Senator's wife, from a family of longtime Vineyard residents that lost nearly everything they'd once held, Ahmad portrays a modern American reality where privilege is not predictable and identity is formed in a crucible of contradictions. If this sounds dry and didactic, let me assure you that The Caretaker is anything but—Ahmad has crafted a story that is refreshing, sexy and heart-felt. I very much hope that this is not the last we'll see of Ranjit Singh, an original, complex hero for an uncertain, complicated time.” —Lisa Brackmann, New York Times bestselling author of Rock Paper Tiger
“The Caretaker is a powerhouse tale, a literary thriller that’s sharply observed and deeply felt. A. X. Ahmad is a remarkable new talent, and his hero, Ranjit Singh, takes his place beside Arkady Renko as a man trapped between the system and his own moral imperatives. The Caretaker is a surprising, gripping love story that manages to be both timely and timeless, and will be a novel people read for years to come. —Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Buried Secrets and Paranoia
"The Caretaker is a promising debut from A. X. Ahmad with a unique perspective and compelling hero, a novel that shines fresh and welcome light on our complex world." —James Grady, author of Six Days of the Condor
"The Caretaker is a killer book and A. X. Ahmad's Ranjit Singh is a compelling man of action. Ahmad takes his readers on a careening ride from the glacial battlefields of South Asia to the supposedly safer digs of Martha's Vineyard. America may not be ready for a run-and-gun Sikh investigator, but we need him now." —Ed Lin, author of One Red Bastard
"This first novel combines the taut pacing of a thriller with the lush, lyrical writing of Jhumpa Lahiri." —Jenna Blum, New York Times Bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers