Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book Review: Compass Box Killer by Piyush Jha

Title: Compass Box Killer [An Inspector Virkar Crime Thriller # 1]
Author: Piyush Jha
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Pages: 234  
Price: Rs 195
Genre: Fiction / Crime / Thriller 
Rating: 6/10
Format: Paperback

About the Book [from the blurb]

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

One muggy afternoon, 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 telltale 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.

My thoughts:

Honestly speaking, till first couple of pages, the setting felt straight out of some popular 70s film – the busy police chowki, the chaiwala, even Inspector Virkar’s entry is very filmy [and it includes a Dance Bar and rescuing an underage girl], the glamorous female journalist, et al.

Inspector Virkar is entrusted with the responsibility of handling the curious case of a dead police officer. This leads him to a series of Compass boxes which give him clues about the killer’s subsequent targets. The only problem is finding the person and protecting him before the killer gets to him. There are no apparent connections between the targeted individuals, and thus, forms a maze of people and places in a sort of ‘Catch-me-if-you-can’ scenario.

Inspector Virkar has been handpicked for Crime Branch because he has the acumen and inclination. He is quick-witted and courageous. Though he seems to be a serious sort of person but he has the amusing habit of throwing in situational one-liners in colloquial language.

The book is an out-and-out page turner. There is no moment to pause and think about, you are just on a chase along with Inspector Virkar. It is a neat thriller, keeps you glued till the end. The book is certainly Bollywood-material with liberal doses of twists and turns and in the absence of a more suitable word, masala. Suspense, mystery, romance, betrayal, skeletons in the closets, drama and so much more are packed into this taut thriller.

This book is something which you would want to finish in one sitting - while travelling or during Sunday afternoons. Its strong points are plot and pace. Its weak point for me was too much of it, and I generally felt it lacked depth. But that is usually the case with most crime thrillers.

If fast-paced crime thrillers are your thing, you will like it.

Review Book courtesy: All About Books Global
Image source: Rupa Publications

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