Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review: Compass Box Killer by Piyush Jha

On the jacket:


‘Akurle is just the first to die. To find out who is next, find me first.’ 

One muggy afternoon in Mumbai, a senior police officer is found murdered at his desk. When Inspector Virkar from the Crime Branch arrives at the scene, he finds a cryptic note that spills out of a student’s compass box. Then begins a series of killings and in each, a tell-tale compass box reveals more clues.
Accompanied by the attractive, ambitious TV reporter, Raashi Hunerwal, Virkar has to race against time to catch the Compass Box Killer before the bodies pile up. As the investigation shuttles from Mumbai to Khandala to Belgaum, Virkar is taken deep into a labyrinth of backroom deals that lead to shocking revelations about the ruthless killer’s motives.
Slick plot twists and high-adrenaline action mark the first of the Inspector Virkar Crime Thrillers—part of the Mumbaistan series. Tough, daring and relentless in his pursuit of justice, Inspector Virkar is a policeman one wishes every city had.

Review:

I have not read the author's first book Mumbaistan but had heard a lot of good things about it. When Compass Box Killer was published, again, I heard a lot of praise for the book and the author's style of writing. So, it was beyond doubt that when I got a chance to review it, I grabbed it.

In one word, Compass Box Killer is a gripping tale. A very well-spun, tight plot, it will have you glued to the book, skimming through the lines as quickly as you can, turning pages fast, to know what happens next.

Murder after murder happens, and Inspector Virkar runs from pillar to post, clues to betrayal, trying to find the killer. He keeps leaving clues, as if to take Virkar through his own journey of killing these people, some high-profile, some not. Crisp editing, perfectly placed sub-plots and smooth writing.

Only two things didn't work for me personally, but they are two small to hamper the reading experience. One, there are times when Marathi phrases are use. Now, I could make out what they meant, but can every reader make out their meanings? A glossary of sorts, would have been nice. Another, probably because this was the second book in the series, for someone who hasn't read the first book, Virkar's character is not very clear. It's not vague, but a little more clarity would have made this book top notch. Also, this book has every ingredient required to make a bollywood thriller.

It's very nice to see Indian authors moving our of the stereotypical romance novels and writing good novels in other genres. A crime thriller is something that interests almost everyone, and Piyush Jha has done a very good job in this. I think I will but Mumbaistan and read it; and wait for his next books. It's a nice feeling that one can have a favourite author from amongst new age Indian authors too!

Rating: ****/5

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

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