After reading a fair few not so great books, a good book comes like an oasis in the desert. Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan was such a book. A out and out fast paced, crime thriller, I finished reading the 270 odd pages in an evening. I can safely say the book was unputdownable.
PLOT: A serial Killer is lose in Chennai, killing College going girls and dumping their bodies in the river. This affects the lives of Kat, Moti, Minx, Lolita and Deepika who are great friends, living out their dreams in Chennai. With the threat of the psychopath looming, their lives that they have so meticulously put together is under threat of unraveling. The killer is very smart and efficient and so is Vir Pradyumna, a criminologist from New York, called in so help solve the case. Vir while fighting his past demons has sworn to protect a girl, who lands up in the hands of the killer. What happens next in this fast paced thriller, full of cops, politicians, goons and thugs, murder, drama and mystery.
CHARACTERS: Kat is the girl who knows what is right and always stand up for the truth and what she believes in and her friends irrespective of the consequences. Moti is the girl who ran away from a horrible past in search of a better future. Minx is the girl who has it all, or so it seems. Lolita is the one hiding her past behind various stories that could unravel anytime anyplace and Deepika is the gossip queen. All five of them make a great group of friends and they trust each other, but still there are a few secrets that even they dont know about each other. Vir having suffered a great loss in the past, these murders and the bring out a need in him to want to solve them and protect the girls from being the next victim. The HATCHET team is quite endearing and professional. And the goon gang (there are so many, ill just call them that) well quite scary. The characters in short apt for the plot.
WHAT I LIKED: The pace, the plot all very nice. The crime thriller stays true to its genre, without wavering from the plot. And research that has gone into the book is definitely better than that gone into all the episodes of CID ever. The book keeps you glued from first page to the last. And the suspense kept till the end. The climax is very well written. Another plus is the action scenes whenever they appear add to the plot. There are very few things that are unnecessary in the book.
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE: The only thing that I did not like in the book is the number of goons. It takes time to keep them straight and remember them. Not saying its a bad thing in general, cause once you get them right well, there is nothing wrong. And yes you do hate each one with a vengeance. The various forms of criminals that are brought to light, and all of them committing crimes against women in some form of the other. Brilliantly done.
RATING: I will rate this book a 4 out of 5. The lovers of this genre must read the book. And yes I did fall in love with Vir, I am searching for the mould he was cast out of. Men like that are rare to come across now a days in reality and in fiction. All in all a brilliant book, that crime and thriller lovers must read.
The book is my personal copy. My opinions are honest and unbiased.