Posted in Book Review, Book Reviews

Book Review: City of Death by Abheek Barua

Synopsis

On a muggy monsoon afternoon Sohini Sen gets a call from the chief minister’s office. A young woman from a well-connected family in the city has been found brutally murdered. Sen is brought back from a bureaucratic wasteland to the thick of the action.

An intelligent and intuitive investigator who struggles with addiction and depression, Sen is ill-prepared for an investigation that is a political minefield with TV anchors and tabloids baying for blood. As various interested parties, armed with power and money, try to manipulate the murder enquiry. Sen is forced to question the very possibility of justice.

A moody atmospheric novel that is as much about the Indian city and the dark depth of the human mind as it is about crime and investigation, City of Death marks the debut of a brilliant new voice.

Review

This book was provided to me by Juggernaut Publishers in exchange of an honest review.

To be honest, I have been reading this book for over a week now. And its just 250 something pages. Not to forget the fact that I read the last 175 pages in a day. So what took me so much time? Let’s hop into the review to find out!

Cover: Before talking about the cover, I would like to bring it to your attention that this book is available on the Juggernaut iOS and Android app by the name, “The Beheading: This is how he will bless her“. And considering THIS title, the cover of the book suits the book perfectly. “City of Death” and the girl’s picture on the cover seem okay to me but not very apt.

Storyline: Set in presumably West Bengal (not particularly stated by the author), this thriller is a perfect example of an episode of ‘Crime Petrol’. If you watch that show, you will know what I am talking about. This thriller practically brings out the reality of the Police System in our society.

The story revolves around Sohini Seth, the protagonist and a detective, who is assigned to interrogate a brutal murder in one of the city’s upscale neighborhood. She, along with her colleague Arjun investigate the case only to be pulled off from it later in the story because of the obvious: corrupted seniors and hidden facts that are meant to be hidden. Will this result as a setback for her or will she find the killer anyway? You need to read the book to find out.

The plot instantly drew me in and I was absolutely hooked when I read the first chapter. The darkness that was blaring out from the book made it look a lot promising. But the unnecessary back story and introductions in the first few chapters did not keep up my interest. The pace was slow and instead of building upon the characters, their traits and virtues, more emphasis was laid on building up the story which was not required in my opinion. But after the first 100 pages, the story took off to a new level. The pace was great and I could actually feel the story moving forward and not being stagnant like it previously was. You will feel the gush inside of you when you reach that point in the book. The murders, the madness to know who the killer is and what might happen next. Don’t expect a vivid description in the story because that is where I feel the book lacked.

Characters: Have you ever felt that you know someone but you don’t actually know them? I might sound insane at this very moment but that’s how I felt about the characters. I know their backstory but I don’t get to connect to them on a personal level.

Let me give you an example (spoiler free): After reading the book, I know that Sohini is a pill popping drunkard, always high, fighting insomnia and on medication. But I don’t know if she likes it or not. I don’t know what she likes at all. What about her life? Why she is the way she is? I felt that the characters were hollow to be honest.

However, there were some features that I liked about them:

  • I appreciate that the characters and the worlds that they lived in were very realistic. My experience while reading the book was very similar to watching an actual movie.
  • I also loved the realness in the situations. The torture, the reactions, the people. Everything felt so real.
  • Also, the characters will definitely make you question yourself and I am sure that after the ending, you will at least think for once- Was it really the killer’s fault that he was the way he was? (If that makes sense!)

Rating: Inspite of my issues with the book, I cannot help but give it 4 stars out of 5. Because it is actually worth your reading time (if you are into thrillers).

His spiritual path is more active- the breaking down of all that society decrees a taboo. He has trained his body and mind not to discriminate between the clean and the defiled, the living and the dead, the supposedly sacred and the profane. He knows that he is not alone in this; a shadowy, forbidding corner of his religion has for centuries offered this path to seekers.

Want to give it a try?

Buy from Amazon IN: City of Death

Buy from Flipkart:  City of Death (English)

This book is also available on the Juggernaut App which you can download from here.

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