The book is about an Investigating agency called ‘Private India’. The agency is investigating a routine case of murder. What looks like a routine investigation soon becomes a series of murders committed by a serial killer. There are some common factors between the murders like all of them are women, murdered using a yellow scarf. Soon there is a murder each day.
The head of Private India, Santosh Wagh and his team consisting of Nisha, Mubeen and Hari are working on this case. Santosh and his team try to find a common link or a pattern in the murder. Initially, they are flummoxed with the dead women murdered by a yellow scarf. Then they also notice there are objects carefully placed on the bodies, more like a setup. There is also some evidence kept like hair. However, the team soon realizes that the murderer is looking for some free publicity and with the props, is trying to mislead the investigation. However, the way Santosh stumbles upon it and finally makes sense of the murderer’s objectives enables him to predict the next few murders. But, the murderer is a step ahead at almost all the times.
The characters have been well-developed with personal stories. Santosh has a drinking problem and the author tries to reason out why he is drinking. Mubeen has a racial discrimination story, Hari has caste discrimination and Nisha has gender discrimination.
There are many twists and turns in the thriller which would be best enjoyed when reading the book and not detailing it here. Overall, this is a good read.
What worked for me?
- The story is well-built up and mystery unfolds very well with small details on almost every page.
- The book starts off slowly and begins to gain momentum in the second half
- The characters and locations are identifiable
- Simple English suitable for first time readers
What didn’t work for me?
- The language of the book is very much Indian English. Nothing wrong in that, but would have been better if only the dialogues had been Indian English. It distracts a bit.
- There is also a terror angle in the book which is really unwarranted. The story should have ended when the mystery was solved. Instead, it goes on to punish the other support characters in the murder and in the process is saving the country from a bomb blast. Very filmi I would say. That chapter can be completely removed.
- There are a lot of explanations provided for Indian trivia like ‘trains with people packed like sardines’, ‘Dharavi’ descriptions. ‘Mahim church’, etc. This slows down the pace a bit.
What could have made the book better?
- Better editing would have helped. The first 150 odd pages are very slow and boring. The second half of the book is fast paced and interesting.
- The unnecessary terror angle could have been removed.
- Adding a map of Mumbai in the book would have helped people who are not from Mumbai to identify the places and distances.