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The Caretaker - A.X. Ahmad Received my copy from the goodreads giveaway.

The first chapters of this book are attention grabbers. The reader is introduced to Ranjit as a captain on a dangerous mission in the Indian army. My first impression of him was not a favorable one. He seems callous and uncaring to the men he serves with.

We are switched forward in time to his life in America with his family. He obtains a position as a caretaker for elite homeowners in Martha's Vineyard over the winter, hence the title of the book. The caretaker Ranjit and the army Ranjit seem worlds apart in personality. Over the chapters we realize what has shaped his present situation. This style of writing is very effective and I found myself rooting for him for MOST of this story. There are also times when I disliked him for choices he made. Ahmad paints a realistic picture and the fact that Ranjit is shown with all of his human failings makes the story more believable. The other characters were also very well developed. I had no problem 'seeing' them and the dialog was smooth and natural.

I really enjoyed learning about the Sikh religion through Ranjit and his thoughts on politics and society were fascinating. The Indian immigrant perspective is not one that I have read about before in a fictional novel.

The only issue I have with the story came towards the end. Chapters 27-29 dragged on and on. Ranjit engaged his human failings in those chapters and I thought it was too much. If that section would have been shortened to one chapter, I would have given the book 5 stars.

Luckily the action, and there is a lot of it in this book, picked up again from there, and the book ended in a good place. If there were a sequel for this novel, I would eagerly read it.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a fast paced story with heart.