Raakshas: India's No.1 Serial Killer Paperback – 5 Jan 2016
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About the Author
Piyush jha is an acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and the author of bestselling crime-fiction novels.
a student political leader at university, he pursued a career in advertising management after acquiring an mba degree. later, he switched tracks, first to make commercials for some of the country’s largest brands, and then to write and direct feature films. piyush’s films chalo america, king of bollywood and sikandar are noted for their unconventional subject matter and for their relevance to contemporary society. piyush’s earlier novels mumbaistan, compass box killer and anti-social network are page-turners that explore the gritty, noir landscape of crime in mumbai. currently, piyush is developing a crime-based tv show for a leading entertainment channel and he’s also working on his next feature film as a director/writer.
raakshas- india’s no. 1 serial killer is piyush’s fourth crime-thriller novel.
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The cover picture(1st edition of the book) has a face of a man, with blood in his eyes and an intense look, holding a knife. It is well designed and can attract readers to pick up the book. The title of the book is intriguing, and to an extent it justifies the story which is a plus point. The story is fast paced with smooth transitions, making the book- a page turner! If it comes to the language, I must say that the use of vocabulary was up to the mark and it enhanced my reading experience.
I felt that the book had too much about the killing part, one murder after the other, which took away my interest in a few places. Some of the scenes lacked basic set up which could have been better with the use of proper detailing. I felt pity for the young killer and it’s hard to perceive him as a Raakshas, rather I see him as a murderer with no real intentions in his mind. It’s just the circumstances of his past that made him a killer and act this way.
The afterword section discusses about the intentions of these serial killers, their mindset, the mental trauma which leads to their behaviour. The book also has a bonus section which talks about India’s least known serial killers, which is a unique add up for crime-thriller novel readers. After considering various elements (cover, title, blurb, plot, story, narration etc), I would like to give it 4 stars.
Raakshas is a story of a young boy who grows in an environment of hatred towards him. The author explains beautifully that ‘he was a murdered the moment he was born’ since his mother couldn’t survive the process. His father, who is busy with his research, sends him to stay with his aunt Latika but his uncle is indeed not happy with him staying with them. All this hatred and absence of love makes him concentrate on the negativities of life.
Besides the killer dominating the story, the story also introduces Maithali, who is a success with academics but being a child, she also has something negative related with his past, but that secret remains with her for her life. Still, it haunts her at moments, but she emerges victorious by choosing a path of eliminating the crime in a bid to escape from the thoughts that tag her as a criminal.
The author seems to have compressed a story into 200 pages what deserved to be a 400-page novel. Though the crime scenes have been given detailing and each killing an unique method of killing, several characters make an exit soon after their entry which goes unnoticed. By the time the last page of the book is turned, I indeed wished that the narration in the latter half was with similar detailing as was the introductory part, which set the stage for the story.
The psycho-analysis of the killer, detailing of the events and the race towards being famous for the job throw much wanted lights on the complex turns and twists moving across the serial killer’s mind. He emphasises the fact to be known as the No. 1 serial killer and no less, and in fact, few of his killings are just an attempt to be known as the best.
Another important aspect highlighted by the author in the book is the fragility of the relationships in our lives. ‘Handle with Care’ or the most beautiful relationship in our life might be gone sooner that one can even imagine. This is my takeaway from the book and certainly, something to be taken care of.
However, the book describes the crime scenes and the violent killings and hence, the standard disclaimer goes without saying that such books are not for the tender hearted and especially not to be read when alone in night. But at the same time, the book connects you with the harsh realities of the real world.
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