Author: Piyush Jha
About the story: When senior police officer, Akurle, is found dead at his own desk inside the bustling police station, Inspector Virkar, from Mumbai Crime Branch, knows that this is no ordinary killer. The only clue that Virkar has, is an old compass box with the name of the next victim, which the killer leaves behind at each murder scene. While managing the internal politics within the police force, Virkar has to also stay a step ahead of the wily and devious crime reporter, Raashi Hunerwal. Raashi, tries to play the famously nefarious media games with Virkar, before realizing that he’s just an honest officer trying to get to the bottom of the grisly murders.
With a vague profile sketch of the killer, Virkar dashes from Mumbai to Khandala to Belgaum, in the ultimate race against time before the killer strikes off another name in his hit-list. The killer’s ingenuity in murdering his targets without being caught baffles and frustrates Virkar.
Somewhere during his pursuit of nabbing the Compass Box Killer, Virkar also falls prey to Raashi’s charm, who accompanies him on the pretext of helping him in the investigation. But as Virkar inches closer to truth, he realizes that appearances can be deceptive and what lies behind the facade of glamour, money and power is a murky web of deceit, corruption and betrayal.
My Review: It is so hard to find good, crime-related thrillers by Indian authors, that I was pleasantly surprised after reading this book. This book has all the ingredients in the right dose for creating a mind-blowing potboiler crime fiction. There’s the quirky inspector, the sexy siren, the spine-chilling serial killer, the atrocious crimes, red tape bureaucracies in Indian police force, deceit and a plenty of twists and turns.
The author, who is also an acclaimed film director, portrays the characters in true cinematic style. The introduction scene of Inspector Virkar brought to my mind, the innumerable scenes of Salman Khan, clad in Khaki uniform, spewing dialogues and witty one-liners.
The narration is taut and the author has managed to keep the suspense intact till the climax. There are a few editing glitches but those can be ignored since it does not detract the readers from the plot.
I would definitely recommend this book for all the fans of crime/thriller fiction novels.
Verdict: Fast-paced thriller with pragmatic characters, plenty of twists and turns that creates an edge-of-the-seat suspense and makes the book a page-turner.