Saturday, July 5, 2014
THE LAST TAXI RIDE by A. X, Ahmad
While this may have been the last taxi ride for someone it is certainly a fast, exciting ride for readers. Ahmad well knows how to tell a story, revealing just enough with each page to keep us burning the midnight oil. For many, as it was for me, it is a totally new adventure as we’re introduced to Indian cab drivers, the South Asian expatriate community, Bollywood, and the Mafia. How’s that for a cast of characters?
As the story opens New York City cabbie Ranjit Singh is surprised and delighted to see that his fare is famous Bollywood actress, Shabana Shah,”....her glossy black hair cascades to her shoulders, She piles three crisp white Prada shopping bags on the seat next to her.” He drives her to the Dakota, and she gives him a generous tip. How could Ranjit be so lucky? Well, not really as the next day Shabana Shah is found murdered, her gorgeous face gone. Ranjit’s fingerprints are all over the crime scene and on the murder weapon, a large marble elephant statue.
Yesterday when Ranjit had arrived at the Dakota he found the doorman was Mohan Kumar, a friend from Ranjit’s army days in India. That evening the two of them met again at the Dakota where they drank and remembered old times. A security camera catches Ranjit leaving the Dakota alone. Now, the police come to Ranjit’s cab company saying fingerprint evidence places him at the scene of Shabana’s murder. No problem, Mohan can vouch for him but Mohan has vanished.
Ranjit is accused of being an accessory to murder and will face a Grand Jury arraignment in 10 days. Eleven days shy of when his daughter, Shanti, will arrive from India to make a home with him in the City. Ranjit has much to do to clear his name in a small amount of time - can he do it?
The Last Taxi Ride is a powerhouse thriller - enjoy!
- Gail Cooke