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In the midst of one of the worst monsoons in Mumbai, a man is found brutally murdered, his body posed like a kite on the tallest cell tower in the city. As one corpse after another turns up in the unlikeliest of places, each gruesomely killed and carefully arranged in a grotesque manner, the Mumbai Police realize they have more on their hands than they can deal with.
Enter Chandrakant Rathod, a maverick investigator the police turn to in times of need, who plays by his own rules and lives for the thrill of the chase. Pitting his sharp instincts against the machinations of the sadistic, ruthless killer, the detective succeeds in nabbing the psychopath and putting him behind bars. Then, three months later, the killings begin again. A deadly game is afoot – a game that will challenge Rathod to the utmost, for it is a game that he cannot hope to win…

REVIEW : On goodreads it says this was published in March. It was not, this came out this month (May). Patang is an Indian crime thriller that follows Private Investigator Chandrakant Rathod as he helps the Mumbai police solve yet another crime under the radar. This time, it sounds like he’s up against a rather crazy man, a man who says “I hate the rain…I hate it, hate it, hate it. But the rain can’t stop me. No one can…I’ll go out and play tonight. I will kill only four. No more, no less. Just four.” It takes one to know one they say and that is exactly the case of Genius detective Rathod and genius killer…..won’t say the name or that’ll spoil things for you.

This book offers all that is expected from a commercial Bollywood style thriller which is more plot based than character based. There’s action, mystery, cops, murder and mystery. There are useless cops, an intelligent private eye, a beautiful girl, scandals and gristly murders; it makes up everything that an average Indian would want from his/her Sunday read.

The story opens with the discovery of a terrible death in a place where one might least expect it. The opening chapter painted a picture both gristly and scenic. Yeah, weird combination but it works very well. Another murder follows and the cops are left wringing their hands helplessly when Mule, a friend of Rathod, decided to bring him in to help them save face yet again. Naturally, as all fictional PIs are, Rathod is moody, has an attitude and does whatever he wishes. But of course, he gets results and that is what they need right now. By the time the third murder is revealed Rathod has a fair idea on what’s going on and nabs the killer. What follows after that is the real mystery of the book. And I must admit, I did not expect the ending, which didn’t convince me but certainly surprised me.

My only gripe with this is the lack of female characters. There are female characters but if this were made into a movie they’d have all of ten minutes in screen time. I prefer books that have strong female characters without following the trope of the mothering sexy female companion who is madly attracted to the disturbed detective. And this, by eliminating the important female character, escaped getting caught in that cliché. Oh, another gripe is that the funnel portion (you’ll know it when you read it) is quite obvious. I don’t suspect that may people would have figured it out before the intelligent Rathod figures it out. Either that or I’ve been reading too many thrillers.

Would I read this again? Maybe. Would I read anything else by this author? Definitely.

Author, Bhaskar Chattopadhyay is a well-known translator, having translated some reputable works like The House By The Lake , No Child’s Play and 14 Stories That Inspired Satyajit Ray. I expected this to be well written, to keep my on my toes and to be an intelligent piece of work and it ticks almost all those boxes. Well-paced, quick and easy to read, Patang doesn’t require much brain work from you, the reader, and is absolutely perfect for those who are looking for a breezy read.

*I received a copy from the publisher (Hachette) to review. Opinions expressed are my own.

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