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City of Death Hardcover – 11 Jul 2016
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An Amazon Rising Star of Autumn 2016: In Abheek Barua's debut novel, the City of Joy transforms into the City of Death. This dark, twisted and gripping tale of crime follows a 40-something investigator, Sohini Sen, whose near-dead career is somewhat resurrected when she is called in by the chief minister to investigate the high-profile murder of a leading industrialist's daughter in the city of Kolkata.
From the wonderfully evocative descriptions of the state and political machinery of the times, old money families, the new media barons and the television anchors who ""Combine the hectoring style of a Bible belt preacher with a careful disregard for the politically correct,"" one gets flashes of real-life people and incidents that may have inspired the author to craft this tale. A compelling and chilling debut novel. One can only hope that there will be more books to follow! - Debeshi Gooptu, Huffington Post India.
About the Author
Abheek Barua has been in the financial sector for twenty-four years and is currently the Chief Economist of HDFC Bank. Having written on the issues in the dry world of economics and finance for over a decade, he was curious to know if his skills would work in fiction. City of Death is his first novel.
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The book I am talking about (you know it by now anyway) is “City of Death” by Abheek Barua. Why did I think it was that great? Well, for starters I loved the female protagonist Sohini Sen – a middle-aged, most cynical detective and might I rightly add – unforgettable as you finish the book. She is the kind of character you must have actually come across and yet so unassuming that you might not even remember till it strikes you later.
The plot: A young woman from an affluent background has been brutally murdered. Sohini gets to know of this from the chief minister’s office. She has to drop everything and get on the case. In the midst of all this, there are political parties and powers at the top who want to either not let this get solved or are just too busy with their own agendas.
I won’t go further into the plot but as I said before, I loved the character of Sohini. There is something very real about her and not to forget the star of the book: Kolkata. Barua with his writing takes you in the by-lanes of Kolkata like a magician – always showing, never telling – sometimes telling, never showing. As a reader, I was gripped from the start and honestly I was kinda disappointed when the book ended.
“City of Death” is a perfect book for that lazy rainy afternoon when you have all the time in the world to devour a book – back to back.
Now the city of death is all about serial killer and somewhat a psycho. It’s not only about crime but the author has perfectly portrayed the life of metro and so called upper class family and their life’s secret are being weaved in the novel. It all starts with a murder of a young woman from high society and case is given to Crime branch for investigation.
The novel is full of suspense, violent many times and it’s really difficult to guess the murderer, also the city name is never mentioned by the author but while reading one can know that it’s a Kolkata. The epilogue is described in such a way that I am waiting for the sequel of this novel.
The author failed to convey the message when future and past is described of any character, it is really distracting from whose point the future and past are being narrated, otherwise it is well written novel.
I really liked this well-crafted novel and recommend to those who love to read crime/mystery novels.
P.S. This novel will help you to build and sharpen your vocabulary.
I received a free Hardback copy from the publisher Juggernaut Books in return of honest review.
City of Death is set in the City of Joy, Kolkata, where it focuses on two people – the protagonist and the antagonist. The antagonist in this case is a serial killer who is trying, if I can put it this way, to find his ‘voice’ through his kills. The killer and his handiwork, especially his latest victim, have the city gripped in both excitement and fear. The high profile of the latest victim ensures a flurry of action and more than enough media coverage. The protagonist is Sohini Sen, an investigator with the crime branch who is almost broken by the bureaucracy and politics of the system. She is brought back into the fold to investigate the case. There is a pressure on her to close the case as soon as possible, irrespective of whether justice is served or not. Will Sohini be able to tackle all the hurdles put in her way and catch the perpetrator? Or will she fail and the killer finally perfect his ways?
The author has to be given credit for an amazing opening to the book. First few pages and I was totally hooked to the book! It gave me a sense of something brilliant awaiting me in the coming pages and I was so excited about the prospect of reading a truly gripping thriller. For most part, the plot lives up to the reader’s expectations. Layered with action, drama and politics, the plot offers more than just the thrill of catching up with a serial killer. Page after page fly by with the reader wanting to know more. The characters are, for most part, realistic with more shades of grey than black and white. Emotions run high as the investigators are put under pressure and the killer seems to be just out of their reach making a reader wonder if this is one of those books where the antagonist proves to be too good at his game.
All these sound good, right? So here’s why I am so conflicted about the book… It is all their, all the ingredients of a perfect thriller. Yet the actual narrative did not work for me. There are bits and patches where the author simply blows your mind with the story telling – but for most parts he lacked in details. The settings and characters are not explored as much as I would have liked and I felt that certain places needed more descriptive handling. I am a sucker for the details and as such I felt bit let down with the lack of it. It was hard to really connect with the characters and the whole set up. It was more like I was an outsider watching the scenes from high above – I could understand what is going on yet fuzzy about the details - rather than being in the thick of things. And I really didn’t enjoy the feeling that I was missing something.
So, to round up – yes, the plot is worth your time. If you are not too picky about the detailed narratives, you can certainly give this book a try.
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