Robin Cook is one of my favourite authors from when I was younger. In fact, it’s the biggest reason I’ve severely suspicious of doctors and hospitals to the point that I never go if I can avoid it. Now, the premise of this book “Three deaths – a beautiful bride, a young businessman, and a famous doctor.
Crime arises from its protracted slumber in Udaipur, and the City of Lakes finally sheds its veil of tranquillity.
Trapped in the heart of the mayhem, is Dr. Aditya Deshmukh, a quintessential loser.
In order to redeem himself and wrench his soul free of the guilt of a
‘murder most foul,’ he has to find the missing links between Abraham and Sarasvati, Abhimanyu and Sumitra, Yasser Arafat and Vladimir Putin.
The body count continues to rise as Aditya gropes in the darkness.
Hunted by an enemy he can’t see, devoured by a love he can’t consummate, and guided by a friend he can’t trust, he is caught up in a race against time where he can’t afford to be the runner-up……………………..” sort of had me thinking it was going to be an awesome Indian Robin Cook which is why I’m completely bewildered now.
The book crosses genres, touching thrillers, suspense, commercialism, a tiny touch of magical realism and also, mythology. I’m saying this clearly because if I had known this I wouldn’t have picked this book up. I like being able to slot things, especially when it is from a debut author because, as Brandon Sanderson says, it’s best to try not to do too much in your debut novel. Which is probably where this went wrong for me. I read till page 161 then dropped it.
The author seems to have a pretty good command over the English language for a debut commercial author. I was pleasantly surprised the first few pages in because I’d expected Indian English, (which isn’t a problem, it works in India). So when I found my attention drifting I couldn’t understand why it was. Maybe because the female characters weren’t to my liking? (the female characters are either PYTs or once PYT and now an overweight thing who’s forgotten that she’s not pretty anymore. Which doesn’t work for my tastes at all. This changes around the midde but by that time I’d lost interest.) I found my attention waning because the characters don’t have their own voices. You can’t differentiate one from the other unless you’re specifically told what character is being spoken about.
Adi as a main character is pretty much as required, an alcoholic buddhu who isn’t capable of doing anything right. Everyone knows characters like this, so that was easy to sympathise with. You don’t connect with him till something serious happens to him and then, you get to see more of him and less of the vodka bottle. The mythology portions would have been a brilliant addition, especially since I am a huge fan of the genre, but it didn’t work because by then I’d lose interest. I do think the book should have been marketed as the genres that it is in which case the right readers would be picking it up. The biggest reason I couldn’t finish this was because it wasn’t the genre I thought it would be. It was a 2 star for me but maybe it’ll be perfect or you. This has action, murders, horror, mythology and a bit of romance as well if you will. Not to mention betrayal, friendships, sweet characters and goondas. I’d say pick this if you like genres that criss cross and if you love commercial Indian fiction. I was expecting something more like Mitali Dotto, which was completely my mistake.
*I received a free copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.