cover image The Caretaker

The Caretaker

A.X. Ahmad. Minotaur, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-01684-3

Ahmad’s poignant debut, the first of a trilogy, introduces Ranjit Singh, a disgraced Indian army captain who’s eking out a living as a landscaper on Martha’s Vineyard with his discontented wife, Preetam, and his happy nine-year-old daughter, Shanti. Their fortunes take a turn for the better after Ranjit lands a job as the winter caretaker for the vacant house of Senator Clayton Neals in the African-American enclave of Oak Bluffs. Later, Ranjit and his family must flee the senator’s house, where they have moved from their squalid living quarters, after Ranjit interrupts a break-in involving two armed men. Powerful people believe that Ranjit holds critical information and will stop at nothing to get it, so he must not only discover what the information is but how to use it to prevent his family’s deportation and his own demise. Ahmad gradually reveals sordid political secrets and the story of Ranjit’s disgrace in this finely textured story of bravery and knavery. Agent: Stephanie Abou, Foundry Media. (May)