Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Review- “Behind the Silicon Mask” by Eshwar Sundaresan

Blurb on the back of the book

A serial killer targeting immigrants.

 A record shattering snowstorm that aids his cold mission.

A community of two hundred  Indian IT professionals under siege. 

A rapacious corporate employer, an unflinching deadline and a boss willing to risk anything. 

A tale-twist in every living room and bedroom. 

A bleak fateful Friday that brings together all these elements and changes lives forever. 

Neither Partho Sen nor Varun Belthangady is aware that his life is in danger. There is one man who can save them yet- Detective Farley of the Milwaukee Police Department. But will the serial killer prove too clever for him?

My review: 

I have been working in the IT field for 7 years now, but this is the first time that I have picked up a fiction book that revolves around people working in IT and their despicable lives. 

“Behind the Silicon Mask” by Eshwar Sundaresan is a riveting read because of its narration which manages to grab the reader’s interest right from the start to its nail-biting end.

The book starts with a serial killer lurking in the streets of Milwaukee, slaughtering immigrants that he comes across. While the entire city is preparing itself for a dreadful snowstorm and an imminent shutdown, a techie from an Indian IT company called CIKS is breaking his head about a bug that refuses to be resolved.  

An interview by a CIKS employee aired on national TV jeopardizes the lives of two hundred IT professionals. The entire Indian community comes under the target of a serial killer leading to a potential hostage crisis. Endeavoring to control the whole situation and capture the serial killer before he goes on a massacre spree are, Detective Farley and his assistants. 

At the crux of the story are two men who are poles opposite in personality. Varun Belthangady is the quintessential pragmatic guy who applies practical logic for solving life’s crucial decisions, a man who can hold back his emotions till he has the luxury to express them. And then there is Partho Sen, who is more interested in photography and writing than in fixing software bugs. He and his girlfriend Rashmi, try to analyze each other’s personalities by unraveling their deepest and puzzling thoughts.

The characters are vividly portrayed as archetypal IT consultants with a nonexistent personal life and long working hours. Even the managers are stereotypically depicted. I was nodding while reading some of the passages like when Varun and Partho are searching for a rented apartment and, most of the landlords decide that they can afford a higher rent because they work in a reputed IT company.

There are plenty other characters who are brought together in the climax of the story (reminded me of those chaotic and medley climaxes in Priyadarshan’s films). 

What works for the book are conceivable characters, a gripping narrative, lots of unexpected twists and turns in the story and a typical software company backdrop that many of us can associate to. The language and the flow of the story are excellent. Even if I scrutinized the book with a microscope in hope of finding a fault with the book, I couldn’t. 

The author chronicles in the Acknowledgement section  about how his book took a decade and twelve revisions to be published, I’m sure the book is an effort of lot of hard work and dedication and the good news is that it shows. This book is one hell of a must-read. Go pick up your copy, now.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!


  1. Indian english writing is more focussed on thrillers these days i guess. I have Tantra here for review from Blogadda, another thriller. I read ' The accidental apprentice' last week, again a thriller. But i liked all of them. Nicely reviewed prasanna. Your review is tempting. I might get a copy :)

  2. Yes, and thank God for that. I was fed up of reading love stories for a while now. I have not received Tantra but might pick it up if it's good. Let me know :)

  3. Tantra is a good read. Worth a shot :)

  4. Thanks Maliny :) Know what, I'll be receiving Tantra from Blogadda too. Will be posting the review soon :)

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