Though Indian Writing in English seems to veer toward one genre more often than not, there are authors who quite rightly stay away from that and write what they enjoy writing. Indian mythology, or mythology-based fantasy fiction is one, and crime fiction is another. Crime fiction has only few names that I have truly enjoyed reading when it comes to IWE. Having grown up on a steady diet of books in that genre, it seems that most plots feel predictable. As a crime fiction reader, I usually look for some aspects of the book to wow me. Suffice to say, this book Patang by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay managed to tick the boxes.
The novel follows the brutal murder of a man during one of the worst monsoons Mumbai has ever seen. More than the nature of the crime, it’s the method behind the madness, and that the murderer has proclaimed that he has some more up his sleeve before he’s done, that flummox the Mumbai police. When in need of help, they approach Chandrakant Rathod, a maverick investigator, who is to them somewhat like Holmes is to Scotland Yard, a consultant detective who plays by his own rules, has his own ideas which seem out of the box. In a battle of minds, the investigator comes out on top. Or does he? When another murder takes place months after the perpetrator is caught, even Rathod seems confused. Can he triumph again and bring justice?
Any good crime fiction needs a good detective. Rathod, as I said before, reminds me of Sherlock Holmes. He thinks outside the box when the rest of the investigators around him seem to be out of ideas. He looks to connect threads. Like Holmes, he’s admired by the police, but not really given his due. He’s likeable as a character, but the twist given to his character was something that I didn’t expect. And in a way, it felt out of place. The victims chosen in the first half of the book were chosen because of revenge. Vengeance is a very plausible motive for murder, and the author does it justice. The victims in the second half of the book, well, the motive for that seems a little more difficult to explain, and the ‘how’ as well as the ‘who’ is confusing right till the end. But I liked both aspects there as well. The pace of the novel is very fast, and yet, very engaging. It had me turning pages to savor each twist. The language is simple and narration as well.
After the book was done, I was amazed with the twist right at the end. Yes, that twist felt a little unbelievable, but I couldn’t see it not happening. All in all, I feel it’s a book that’s well worth reading when it comes to crime fiction.
|Author(s): Bhaskar Chattopadhyay||Genre: Crime Fiction|
|ISBN/ASIN: 9789351950356||Publisher: Hachette India|
(© 22nd May 2016)