Posted in Books

Book Review: Curse of the Red Soil, by Durgesh Shastri

Oh. Crime thrillers! They take you on a roller coaster ride and leave you hunting for clues to find the perpetrator or solve the mystery. To play detective in your imagination is fun, and that’s why the genre appeals to me.

This book, “Curse of the Red Soil” is set in Bidar. At the outset, we’re taken to when it all began, on a winter night where two people are digging and another commanding them. We’re told it was a body that they were burying. We don’t know whose body, and why till later. Four years after that, events begin to unfold when Aaradhya has a dream about her family’s maid Manorama who had gone missing, and reaches out to Manorama’s family to put her mind at ease. This inquiry opens old, almost closed threads of the past which lead to Manorama’s brother putting his doubts that Manorama was killed by Aaradhya’s father, a powerful, influential politician. To help solve the mytery, Sachit, her boyfriend and his friend Ritesh also come to Bidar. What will happen?

What I like in any thriller is pace. This book has that. It is interesting and the prologue does its bit to intrigue the reader as to who was the girl who was killed and why, and who killed her. The relationships also introduce a romance angle into the novel, and the strength of that love between Sachit and Aaradhya is dealt with very nicely by the author. The historical bits thrown into the narration link quite seamlessly with the narration too and bring some more intrigue to the mystery. The cover design, like a newspaper, also is appealing.

Where the book is a letdown for me is that the threads that are interesting are closed very quickly, when I felt it could have been closed much later in the narration. Closing it early doused some of the thrill for me. The letter by Aaradhya at the end (surprising and unexpected as it was) felt out of character. Editing wise, I thought a little tighter editing would have helped the book too.

The positives are more for this book, and it’s one that I might go back to someday. It’s a good debut fiction, and I look forward to more from the author.

The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
Book Details
Title: Curse of the Red Soil
Author(s): Durgesh Shastri Genre: Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9788192982762 Publisher: Red Ink Publishers
No. of Pages: 236 Price: Rs. 175

I own a copy of the book. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 3rd April 2015)



Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.