Title: Jacob Hills
Author: Ismita Tandon Dhankher
About the story: When Major George Chandy and his wife Eva arrive at the War College stationed in Jacob Hills, neither of them have any inclination of what awaits them in the idyllic and beautiful town. George, after suffering a leg injury in a war mishap, is posted as an instructor to teach the Young Officers. Along with his new bride, the Anglo-Indian Eva, he starts his life afresh in Jacob Hills. But the peaceful town has an ugly underbelly too where murders, child abuse, wife swapping and domestic violence forms the norm of the army society.
When Eva discovers the dying body of a young woman, she is horrified and takes it upon herself to expose the murderer and bring justice to the dead woman who had also suffered domestic abuse when living.
To keep herself busy, Eva starts teaching at a local school and it’s there that she comes across a girl who shows similar signs of abuse as the dead woman. Eva tries her best to get the little girl talking, knowing very well that she’s the only one who has seen the face of the abuser, but the poor girl is traumatized by the entire episode and withdraws at any kinds of intimacy.
Apart from Eva and George there are many other couples whose story is narrated alongside- Pam and Gary who covertly run The Key Club, an underground swinger’s club, Major. Vikram and his wife Saryu who is forced to sleep with other senior officers to forward her husband’s career, Capt. Rana and his Muslim wife Heena who are bound by matrimony due to an unforeseen pregnancy.
With so much mayhem and unrest will Eva be able to bring justice to the dead woman, will she be able to stop the child abuse that’s happening right under everyone’s nose, will she be able to break the tacit but conventional molds set for an army wife? Read the thriller/suspense novel to find out :-)
My Review: The book set in the 80’s definitely lays bare the ugly underbelly of army life. Though CA and domestic violence is still unheard of, there are rumors of wife swapping rendezvous in and around army circles.
In my book review of “Love on the Rocks”, Ismita Tandon’s previous book (which you can read here), my grouse was that the main protagonists didn’t have enough passion between them for the reader to empathize with the characters. Well, I should say that it has been aptly taken care of in this novel because the sizzling chemistry between George and Eva is sure to set pulses racing.
The cons? Well, I guess the suspense/thriller element is slightly underplayed in the book what with other issues that supposedly plagues the army society life also portrayed in the book.
The author has adopted the same way of narration (each chapter is narrated by different characters) as in her previous book but thankfully she has kept the chapters short and crisp which undeniably deserves a thumbs up from me.
Verdict: An interesting read with varied characters and interesting plot. Read it if you don’t mind your suspense/mystery books sidetracked with multihued diverse plot elements.
This book was sent to me by Indiblogger, Get Published-Book Reviews.