Is someone out there tinkering with our minds? Shukrat Ali, a news anchor at Khulasa, the sensationalist tabloid current affairs channel, is out of a job. TV channels across the country have closed down as a consequence of a Supreme Court ban on electronic advertising. An enquiry is on regarding the emergence of a sinister new form of ads the media has dubbed propagandads, which uses compelling subliminal messages to subtly rewire peoples minds and influence their actions. Even as Shukrat grapples with the question: How does an anchor move on? he receives a summons from a criminal court to testify in the trial concerning the killing of his ex-boss, Satya Saachi Sengupta, the mysterious and towering figure in his life, whose connections with this insidious mind manipulation scheme can no longer be denied. Being a key witness present at the scene of the crime, Shukrat must prepare to bare all before the court and tread carefully lest his testimony boomerangs on him. Gripping and darkly humourous, End of Story? is an intriguing and intelligent thriller about the dystopian possibilities of everyday advertising.
I started reading End Of Story? a few days after the Tejpal fiasco hit the news stands. Being from the media, albeit print, I wasn't really looking for something earth shattering, which I didn't know about - yet the cover and the blurb were quite interesting.
The book starts with the narrator telling us about a case, for which he is bound to be questioned, and he is preparing himself to answer the lawyers. There is a mention of his boss, around whom the story revolves, with a fictitious sounding name. Satya Saachi, definitely sounds fictitious. The protagonist obviously hated his boss, I suppose most of us do have hated some boss or other at some time of our carriers. But Shukrat, our protagonist, can't do much, cozz the boss is dead - so he makes fun of how Bengalis talk. Very classy indeed. Anyway, back to this work of fiction.
The plot travels through family, media, intrigue and murder. Simple language, sometimes too simple, while I didn't like the way the plot was progressing in the beginning, but it gets better. Shukrat and his wife are not together any more. He is bitching about her, says they can't stand each other but when they are talking to each other, they are clearly a team. Okay.
The story begins with Shaukat telling about incidents surrounding his boss' death, with his daughter's disappearance. A roller coaster plot which goes through highs, lows and confusions, End Of Story? is an interesting read overall. It picks up after a bit and the plot tightens, and becomes comes gripping. A quick read, as most thriller/mystery novels are, and a good read.
[This is an author request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]