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Monday, 30 March 2015

Book Review- Catching the Departed- Kulpreet Yadav

Title- Catching The Departed
Author- Kulpreet Yadav
Publisher 4 Hour Books
ISBN-10 8183860664
Edition 1st Edition
Imprint Tara Press
Book Type Fiction Book
Number of Pages 258 Pages
Publication Year 2014 July
Language English
ISBN-13 9788183860666
Binding Paperback

SERIES & SET DETAILS
Series Volume 1
Series Name Andy Karan Series

CONTRIBUTORS
Authored By Kulpreet Yadav
Author Info
Founder-editor of Open Road Review, a literary journal with a global footprint, Kulpreet Yadavs own writings have appeared in various magazines and newspapers in India and elsewhere. He is the founder member of the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Association and when not writing, he loves to travel, experiment with food and do photography. Kulpreet lives in New Delhi with his wife and two daughters. More at www.kulpreetyadav.in


The above info has been taken from the Flipkart page of the book. You may purchase the book here.

The book has promising beginnings where the banana-eating investigative journalist puts on his detective shoes and sets off to solve a mystery which is much larger than his expectations. The author has kept the accounts realistic by using the real names of roads and giving close to reality descriptions of scenes. The initial 70 pages of the book had floored me and I was happy that I was reading and learning at the same time. The characters were believable, the word-pictures were painted with finesse and the loose ends were beginning to make the whole thing very thrilling. 

The writing developed some fatigue in the middle. The dialogues almost disappeared and the narration started looking hurried. The protagonist of the novel Andy Karan slowly developed into a vulnerable target who had nothing but brawns to help him survive in this cruel world. He is no Hercule Poirot, not even close. He is just a guy who likes adventure and has an interesting history. The female lead character of the novel- Monica also was depicted poorly. In general, the novel gave females only two options- you are either a vamp or a sitting duck. The undercurrent of sexism was slightly disturbing. In a recent review of Khushwant Singh's Maharaja in Denims' I have already talked about the problem of sexism in pulp fiction. Now I am getting the idea that maybe I am trying to see something which is supposed to be a masala entertainer with too keen an eye. So, nevermind.

Anyway, the novel did manage to keep my attention right till the end. I did see a gradual deterioration in the quality of writing and editing as the novel progressed. The colloquialism in narrative phrases (as opposed to dialogues, where it is ok because it makes them sound realistic) was mildly disturbing. Instead of 'terrified or horrified', the author had chosen phrases like 'worried as hell'. The language still is one of the high points of the novel. 

It was a breezy read and I was able to finish it in a very short amount of time. You should watch out for the beautiful language in the beginning and start expecting less as you move toward the end- that seems to be the way to enjoy this light read. Also, I am quite aware that powerful woman characters are not the highlight of a masala detective fiction and so must be the case with the reader who is easily offended by portrayal of women as the weaker sex. 

The cover design has been beautifully done and adds to the appeal. The pages are crisp and nice. The character- Andy Karan has good potential as he has his peculiar quirks, His vulnerability and too much reliance of brute force are maybe the points the author wants to look at in the subsequent books. The interesting analogy with Mahabharata's character Karn is thought-provoking but slightly overdone. The author needs to be a little innovative in that field. Read the book if you are looking for a light entertainer. No blood and gore to scare the weak-hearted, this book will cure your hangover.

*** (Three stars out of five.)

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