Title: The Last Taxi Ride
Author: A.X. Ahmad
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Genre: Mystery, South Asia
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
When taxi driver Ranjit Singh meets Bollywood actress Shabhana Shah, he’s dazzled by her. But when she’s later found murdered in her apartment, and Ranjit is the police’s prime suspect, he’s both devastated and baffled. Who would murder the Bollywood icon, and why does all the evidence point to Ranjit? He has just 10 days to figure out what is really happening before time runs out and he is convicted of a murder he didn’t commit.
A thrilling murder mystery combined with a well-developed main character who wants to do right by everyone he meets? It’s a delicious mix in The Last Taxi Ride, which makes for a novel readers will power through, eager to discover what happens to this wonderful character.
The 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 Ranjit Singh could believably be involved in twice in a row, so I was curious as to what author A.X. Ahmad had in store for his character next. I was surprised (but delighted) when I discovered that it was being billed as a “Bollywood murder mystery.” My interest piqued, I picked this novel up and devoured the entire thing in one sitting.
Ranjit is a little older and wiser in The Last Taxi Ride. He’s a little more wary of the world, no longer blinded by the promise of America. He’s still optimistic, though, and has done well for himself since events in the first book. It’s interesting to watch Ranjit change, especially as the core of who he is stays constant. He’s a man people instinctively trust, and it’s interesting to see him try to do the honorable thing again and again, even if it’s not in his own best interest. He’s a good man, which makes readers want him to succeed.
The story of The Last Taxi Ride is intriguing. Though the “Bollywood” description might make it seem fun and whimsical, it’s really not lighthearted. That’s not to say it’s too dark and heavy, but that it deals with some serious issues. Ahmad skillfully deals with problems such as abuse (of all kinds—physical and emotional); the glimpses the reader receives of Shabhana’s life are powerful (if sad). It manages to balance entertainment with the darker sides of human nature.
If you haven’t read The Caretaker, you still can pick up The Last Taxi Ride without too much trouble. The stories aren’t really connected, though you’ll be missing out on a great story and the introduction of a complex main character. Ahmad’s really honed his writing skills with this novel, delivering a breathless thriller while still maintaining intriguing character development and his gorgeous, descriptive writing. I’ll be on the edge of my seat waiting for the final chapter in this trilogy.
Other books by A.X. Ahmad