My rating: 2 of 5 stars
One of the worst books I have read. The last quarter of the book is when the writer gets to all the action. It is not so much crime and detective fiction than it is a spy action thriller which manages to preach secularism, Hindu-Muslim unity, how all men named 'Narendra' are evil and are ruling India now. The book references Indira Gandhi, Bollywood, Ramayana for no darn reason. [spoiler] The main villain is named Narendra/ Arun Jaitly [/spoiler] which has a bit of an anti-BJP political undercurrent. If we ignore the unfortunate nomenclature and preachy dialogue as mere coincidences, the book in itself is a textbook of bad writing.
It has too much telling and no showing. The last pages are essentially the writer explaining all the loose threads he has created in the first 150 pages. The author does not explain the character's intentions and motivations through his actions, instead he sits you down and actually explains why the character is good.
Then there is the sexism. It is okay because the author is actually speaking through his characters but then in the inflection too, the author says things like- there is no life for widows in the Indian society. His woman character is sad because his husband is cheating on her for the reason that she couldn't lure her man enough with her cooking and her loving. It physically hurts to read such characters set in a modern day metropolitan.
The book is not nuanced, it is not well written and it lacks in the only thing it promises to offer--detective fiction. Only the parts with the baby elephant are somewhat readable because they have a pulp-fiction like feel to them.
I encourage the writer to take up some writing workshops. He shows brilliance in parts but the major part of the novel is not a story but a rant. Also, he should stop delivering political lectures in the middle of the novel.
Two stars. One for the awesome cover art and the second one for the action sequences.
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