Book Review: The Caretaker – A.X. Ahmad

Title: The Caretaker
Author: A.X. Ahmad
ISBN: 9781250016843
Pages: 304
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Minotaur
Genre: Literary Thriller
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Ranjit Singh was the commander of a squad in the Indian Army, but he’s since fled India with his wife and daughter to escape the demons that haunt him. Trying to eke out a living in Cape Cod, he becomes the caretaker for the house of a famous senator. But what Ranjit doesn’t know is that there are secrets in that house, and what he uncovers during the long and cold winter will have repercussions that will affect him and his family for the rest of his life.


The Caretaker is a literary thriller featuring a man who is shadowed by trouble, no matter how far he runs. Ranjit is a solid man, eager to provide for his family by doing whatever he must. But he’s also proud and expects to be treated with respect and dignity. While these seem like simple demands, especially considering how far Ranjit has fallen since his time in the Indian army, these values are hard for him to come by. Readers will appreciate Ranjit’s integrity and emotional strength, as he has to face quite a bit of adversity in this book.

Ahmad’s writing style is not what you’d expect for a typical thriller, but then again, The Caretaker is not your typical read from this genre. Ahmad writes with beautiful, fluid prose; his descriptions are vivid and readers will enjoy becoming lost in his writing. What’s more, the cultural aspects set this novel apart from other thrillers. Ranjit’s heritage is important to him, and he maintains his traditions even though his family has left India. Readers will appreciate learning more about Sikh culture while also being thoroughly entertained.

Juxtaposed against the present day, explosive storyline of The Caretaker is the tale of Ranjit’s dark past. It’s clear that he hasn’t been able to let go of what happened to him all those years ago, and Ahmad does an excellent job of drawing the story out. It’s rare that an author manages to make dual storylines equally compelling, yet Ahmad does so with ease. Readers will appreciate these glimpses into Ranjit’s past, as they both flesh out the character and provide a cultural backdrop to the story as a whole.

If you’re looking for a unique novel with many different aspects—cultural, historical, political, and more—then The Caretaker is a great novel to pick up. What might seem like a mixed up jumble in any other novel becomes a seamless, suspenseful read, thanks to Ahmad’s careful plotting and gorgeous prose. It’s hard to find books that successfully stray from the beaten path, so if you’re looking for something new, don’t hesitate to pick this novel up.

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  1. […] first book in the Ranjit Singh trilogy, The Caretaker, was a high-stakes political thriller. It was fun, but not the type of story a character such as […]

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