Publisher- Apeejay Stya Publishing
This one brings back the memories of the golden era of thriller fiction novels like Devki Nandan Khatri's Chandrakanta. It took me back to days when children used to hide under the covers and read Indrajaal, tulsi or Raj comics pretending to be asleep. It has a racy plot, larger than life characters and thrilling turn of events. I enjoyed reading it and once I picked it up, it was very difficult to put down.
The protagonist is a vampire slayer who isn't modest to say the least. She is Anu Aggarwal. She is a guardian and wears her attitude on her sleeve. As you can see on the cover, she stands on the top of a building taking guard with a dagger in her hand and gaze fixed on the cityscape. The city here is New Delhi which has been shown in a very nice way through the descriptions by the first time author Adi. Adi, the author, comes across to me as one of those comic book enthusiasts who loved reading about mystical creatures and imagined himself to be the hero killing the bad guys. The boyish charm of the author is evident on the pages of the book as he plays with his characters and has a lot of fun in the process.
Anu comes from New York to New Delhi on a mission to destroy a crime link and soon realizes that she has opened a huge can of worms. She seeks help from several gurus and tantriks as she fights the evil. There is a certain haunting character about the novel as evil always lurks in the background and is one step ahead of the good.
The novel also has a bollywood-like hilarious side-plot where Anu's aunt is trying to set her up with a suitable boy. The novel has been made with the intention of creating a reader base who can get to acquaint themselves with and start liking the characters. I foresee it to be the first novel in a long successful series.
The language has been kept lucid, the sentences are short and easy to understand so that the novel can percolate deep into the Indian readership. There is also enough sexuality in the pages for the, umm.. how do I put this delicately, low-minded audience. I mean it's entertainment, nothing wrong with it but, I expect a little less of it and more of action in the sequels.
A word about the author- The author confesses that he has been a fictions books' buff and has loved the characters from Indian mythology. That explains the theme of the novel and his grip on the subject. He also has degrees from Stanford and Harward and that explains the intelligent weaving on the plot and use of suitable language. His acknowledgements are heartfelt and were fun to read. I think he should stick around and write many more such novels. India does need to revive its story-telling culture.
So, all in all, it's a good, nail-biting, edge of the seat thriller with enough masala to shame a South Indian masala flick. I'd like to suggest that this book is meant for those who can handle this kind of fiction and have grown with the mysteries of vampires, zombies, fairies and angels; and can enjoy the romance behind it all.