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The Caretaker (Ranjit Singh #1)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  444 ratings  ·  136 reviews
Ex-Indian officer with a troubled past moves his family to Martha's vineyard to get a fresh start. He finds himself and his family wrapped up in danger and struggles to free them.
Paperback, 294 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by Minotaur Books (first published May 21st 2013)
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3.5 stars

Well written debut thriller with great locales (India, Boston, Martha's Vineyard), lots of action, sharply drawn characters.

The protagonist, Ranjit Singh, is appealing. He's a Sikh and former member of the Indian military. Discharged from service due to scandal, Ranjit emigrates to the United States where he barely makes a living doing odd jobs on Martha's Vineyard. He's thrilled to land several jobs as winter caretaker for some of the expensive homes on the island. At least until he a
Sujata Massey
Elegant, concise writing makes it hard to believe this is A.X. Ahmad's first novel. The Caretaker features Ranjit Singh, a disgraced ex-military officer from India, who's finally out of prison and is trying to start a new life in Boston with his depressed wife Preetam and sweet young daughter Shanti. Ranjit is frustrated working in the grocery store owned by his oppressive brother-in-law, so he leaps at the chance to work independently as a caretaker for a few estates on posh Martha's Vineyard. ...more
Prabhleen Singh
Well, to begin with, this was a giveaway from Goodreads and I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it is! This is not the first book I have read with the backdrop of the Indian army but unlike the others this one is an easy read for anyone who has not lived that life. When I started reading this book, I had this feeling that it is just going to be an action packed plotless novel. But I was highly mistaken! By the time I came midway through the book I realised I have never read anything of this s ...more
This gracefully written yet ingeniously plotted tale effectively intertwines compelling human stories with political intrigue. Ahmad has created a new sharp memorable voice in fiction with Ramjet Singh, a disgraced Indian army captain hoping to rebuild his life in the United States, while attempting to do the right thing is challenged by family expectations, preconceived prejudices, and dubious double-crossing. In what seems like random twists of fate the taut action and twists highlights the of ...more
Outlandish plot - felt like I was reading a screenplay for an overhyped action film instead of a novel. And the affair with the Senator's wife was disgusting. I'm not a prude reader, but their scenes made me want to vom. Two stars though for the breezy entertainment, no matter how unrealistic it was.
I am pretty happy with this debut novel. I have some issues but overall they are small, especially taking into account that this is the author's debut novel.

Our protagonist and flawed hero is Ranjit Singh, a disgraced Sikh former army captain now living as an undocumented worker struggling to make ends meet as a landscaper on Martha's Vineyard. Things are not going well but begin to look up a bit when he is offered the opportunity to work as caretaker during the off season for a famous senator
Angie Kim
This is an amazing literary thriller. I love fast-paced thrillers with plot twists and suspenseful mysteries/questions that drive the novel, but I find that most of those types of books are light on character development, beautiful prose, etc. On the other hand, I find that most literary novels can be a bit too slow. A.X. Ahmad’s book is one of the few books I can think of that combines the best of both worlds. It’s a fast-paced, exciting, and fun page-turner (I read the whole thing from cover t ...more
Bonnie Brody
Ranjit Singh was a respected army captain in India, scaling the highest mountains with his troops. When a disaster occurs he is court-martialed and placed in jail for three years. Once he gets out of jail he takes his wife and daughter to the United States where he settles into Cape Cod and becomes a caretaker for the wealthy estates during the winter. He is penniless except for the minimal money he makes from his job.

One of his caretaking jobs is for a United States Senator. He also does some s
Nikita (NjKinny's World of Books & Stuff)
Sep 28, 2013 Nikita (NjKinny's World of Books & Stuff) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone..A detailed and super interesting story.. :)
'At nineteen thousand feet on the Siachen Glacier, there is no longer earth and sky, just an endless mountain of snow.
In this infinity of white are six men, walking in line, moving in the drunken lockstep of the exhausted.'

The debut novel, "The Caretaker", by A.X. Ahmad starts on the high altitudes of the Siachen Glacier where Captain Ranjit Singh is leading his team of five on a covert operation into a gray zone with practically no information except a set of coordinates.

"This mission stinks,
More like a 2.5. Not a genre I typically read, but it was fun to mix it up a bit. I liked the way that so many different worlds were brought together (a Sikh man who was in the Indian army, a rich Senator from Massachusetts, poor immigrants working on Martha's Vineyard during the off-season, a Vietnam veteran in Boston, etc.). Unfortunately, parts of this book were just so unrealistic and the main character's relationship with the Senator's wife drove me absolutely nuts. Overall, though, the wri ...more
The Caretaker by A.X.Ahmad is a compelling read about a man who is trying to run away from the ghosts of his past but they keep following him, no matter how far he runs. In his debut work, the author has given us our very own desi yet exotic hero in the form of Ranjit Singh, who is – a Sikh, a respected and brave former captain in the Indian Army, a fallen soldier, an illegal immigrant & a landscaper trying to pass off as a common brown man in America, in exactly that order.

Ranjit Singh is
Interesting and engaging mystery/thriller without much explicit blood or gore. The main character, Ranjit, is an Indian immigrant to the USA whose visa has expired. He has moved his family to Martha's Vineyard to break away from his overbearing brother-in-law in Cambridge, Mass. He soon becomes unwittingly embroiled in a plot that involves a US Senator, nuclear weapons and a couple of foreign governments. He has no idea what is going on at first, and he slowly pieces things together and takes th ...more
Patrice Hoffman
I have really enjoyed this debut novel featuring a disgraced sikh named Ranjit living in Martha's Vineyard trying to make ends meet and do what's best for his family. While living in the house of his boss Congressman Neal, a duo of masked entruders break in looking for an antique doll. The contents of the doll is so important that Ranjit's family and life and are threatened until it's return.

I really don't know where to start with this novel. It is very well-written. I could not tell that I was
Disclaimer: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway from Minotaur Books.

Thrillers really aren't my usual reads; they always turn out to be the same thing, just with different characters and scenarilos--at least that's how they always seem to me. So the story of a former Indian Army Captain trying to escape his shameful past by relocating his family to America and working as a landscaper/caretaker on Martha's Vineyardwho gets involved in international espionage didn't strike me as anything more
Kathy Martin
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 ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Thrillers have to have a believable hook that also has some relevance. In today's world, the material usually stems from Iraq or Afghanistan, although there re many other events in the world that could provide a stepping stone for a satisfactory thriller. This is one example, which utilizes a unique prospective of an illegal immigrant in the United States, a disgraced Sikh member of the Indian special forces, who encounters disaster on a disputed glacier on the Pakistani border. In attempting to ...more
PROTAGONIST: Ranjit Singh, former elite Army Squad (India0
SETTING: Martha's Vineyard
RATING: 4.25
WHY: Ranjit Singh is a Sikh from India who came to America after being disgraced in an incident that occurred during his time in the elite Army Squad. He is serving as a caretaker for several homes in Martha's Vineyard. When his leased home loses heat, he illegally moves his wife and daughter into the home of one of his clients, a US Senator. The Senator and his wife have some secrets, and R
The Caretaker was an intriguing book about a former Sikh army officer whose career ended in disgrace and prison. The storyline kept me in suspense, and wondering what would happen to Ranjit and his family next.

When he tries to start a new life with his family in the United States, Ranjit finds his job and his family's situation unbearable. He gains some contentment when he begins landscaping for residents of Martha's Vineyard. As winter sets in, difficulties amount for his family, and he takes h
I liked some things about the book. The descriptions of the failed military mission in the mountains between India and Pakistan where Ranjit and his men are betrayed by their superiors are well done. As is his experience trying to make a new life in Boston under the thumb of his wife's uncle. The descriptions of life on Martha's Vineyard and the Portuguese immigrant community there are also very good, as is the understandable build up of tension between Ranjit and his wife as they struggle in th ...more
Eileen Iciek
I loved this book. It was well written with a sympathetic lead character, Ranjit Singh, a Sikh Indian captain forced to emigrate to America with his wife and daughter. He ends up on Martha's Vineyard, as a caretaker during the winter of several wealthy homeowners, including a U.S. Senator and his lovely wife, when he ends up targeted by several killers. The story was well plotted and moved along quickly. It was the kind of book you don't want to put down, and if you do, you find yourself thinkin ...more
James Monroe
A true page-turner! I used to love Michael Crichton books because he kept the pace going and raising the stakes, forcing you to keep reading... almost like the literary version of binge-watching TV!

This book would make a great movie a la The Bourne Identity; and it's about time for a non-white guy hero!
Can't wait to see where this is going - hope there is a series of this character. The writing is tight and moves fast, I care about the character and his situations, and even though his world is foreign to me, I understand his motivations and purpose. Great read!
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)

Ranjit Singh has been working odd jobs in Martha’s Vineyard during the summer, after quitting the job at his wife’s uncle’s Indian shop in Boston. He’s sick of feeling beholden to her uncle for the money spent to bring them to the US, and the smugness on his face when he hands Ranjit his paltry pay is only the icing on an already dreadful situation. He’s worried about the oncoming winter and the ramshackle shack that his family is staying in, but salvation
Fascinating book. We learn about Ranjit's experiences as an immigrant in America, and more specifically, as an illegal alien. But we also learn about his life as a captain in the Indian Army before he left India. And we learn a lot about Sikhs, a very misunderstood culture in this country. The cultural dynamics of this book alone make it worth the read.

And then there is the thriller. I did not foresee a political/espionage thriller mixed into this complicated story and it was great. So often I g
Ranjit Singh, a Sikh, disgraced Indian Army captain, husband, father, has had to leave India with his wife and daughter after being courtmartialled and jailed for "dereliction of duty" - tho we know he's really been set up. The book follows him on a rather convoluted journey on Martha's Vineyard and in Boston as he gets involved in and then tries to escape a rather over-complicated conspiracy. But the characters are interesting and believable, as are his relationships. And there is a perspective ...more
3.5 stars
Ranjit Singh, a Sikh Indian and disgraced army captain is forced to leave India with his wife and daughter. As a landscaper on Martha's Vineyard, he lucks into some caretaker jobs for the wealthy, including a U.S. Senator during the down months of winter. What follows is a political thriller with a fast pace and interesting plot.

I picked this up from the new audiobooks at my library. This story definitely kept me engaged and I appreciated the variety of issues covered. I was surprised t
I had a difficult time putting down this book and essentially read it in two sessions. Lucky for me that the second in the series is now out and I can just continue Ranjit Singh's story. Besides an engaging story, Ranjit, a Sikh and ex-military man, is a sympathetic character whose history told in flashbacks draws you in and let's you see the type of man he is. His approach to his current situation is made feasible by the story told in those flashbacks. So we have an understanding of our main ch ...more
Ranjit Singh is disgraced and discharged from the Indian army. In shame he emigrates to US where he works for his wife's uncle in an Indian store in Boston, leaves and then works as a caretaker for the rich in Martha's vineyard when he gets unknowlingly embroiled in a huge conspiracy which is unfolding in a senators house there.

In the race for time Ranjit has to save his family from deportation, find out the truth about the senator who is running for President and also save the Senator's wife wh
Meghant Parmar
When thrillers are written the expectations automatically rise two manifolds. The curiosity and edginess is the key to any thriller.

This one has edginess and curiosity at first but later on goes on to become simple and placid. It all becomes too easy once the secrets unfold and the plot loses grip in the second half completely. Everything becomes too predictable.

The story is good in the first half but the past rambling just doesn't adds up to the entire setup. It could have been made more allu
Ranjit Singh and his family are in the US on expired tourist visas. Hoping to a new start, they move to Marthas Vineyard where he starts a landscaping service. Once winter comes, he ends us care taking a number of estates, one of which belongs to Senator Neal and his wife Anna. When the boiler of his rented house breaks, he temporarily moves his family into the senator's house where they are attacked, as he gradually determines what the thieves are looking for he gets drawn into a tale of stolen ...more
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A.X. Ahmad is the author of the Ranjit Singh trilogy. The first book, THE CARETAKER, was published in May 2013. The second book in the series, LAST TAXI RIDE, will be published in June 2014.

A.X. Ahmad grew up in India, was educated at Vassar College and MIT, and worked for many years as an international architect before taking up writing full time.

As Amin Ahmad, his short stories and essays on i
More about A.X. Ahmad...

Other Books in the Series

Ranjit Singh (2 books)
  • The Last Taxi Ride (Ranjit Singh, #2)
The Last Taxi Ride (Ranjit Singh, #2) Don Hajji Mustafa

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