On New Year’s Day, a man is found brutally murdered on the outskirts of Pune City. Pune’s leading investigative journalist, Chakradhar, is shocked by this gory and puzzling crime. The dead man is found with multiple stab wounds in the shape of a hideous smile carved on his face. Post mortem results show that the wounds were inflicted with an old fashioned fountain pen while the victim was still alive.
Chakradhar, assisted by his spunky kickboxer protege Mukta, a genius anti-social computer hacker AAtif, and Chakradhar’s best friend Dr. Poonawala – an eccentric bumbling GP – is drawn into a spine – chilling investigation.
The case starts spiralling out of control when bodies start piling up with the killer’s signature – the smile carved on victim’s faces. As Chakradhar races on with determination to get to the bottom of this mystery, he uncovers a terrible secret in corporate Pune. But, even when he solves one clue after another, the architect of this puzzle – the murderer – is still at large.
And, suddenly, Chakradhar is at target.
I received a physical copy of the book via Rumor Books India in exchange for an honest review.
I have to be honest, I don’t usually read Indian authors – maybe because of an inherent snobbishness or maybe cause of really high expectations or maybe even cause the authors’ and my wavelengths do not really match.
But I am never the one to turn down free books – so when I got the choice of books from Rumor Books – I of course chose books with the Crime/Thriller genre (Yes, you will soon have the review of another book as well!).
Getting back to the book –
The book opens to a confusing scene – reminiscent of a victim who has been drugged or hurt and is only now regaining his consciousness. It takes few minutes to orient into the scene and the story, but once you do, you never ever take your eyes off the words written – every gory detail is etched on your minds.
Chakradhar, is the protagonist of the story – the honest crime reporter who apparently gets long with cops and is in fact an investigator himself, whom the cops do look for answers – which has of course not been shouted from the rooftops in the book. You have Mukta, his sister – in- law, his friend Dr.Poonawala an adorably eccentric friend and lastly, Divya, a prospective romantic interest.
This book had me hooked and honestly, I finished it within two days – and when you factor in all the adult things, you can understand how much I would have loved this book – the reason for this simple – the writing. The author has a brilliantly deceptive writing style that has the ability to have you hooked in, before you even understand whether you want to be or not. And that, my lovely bookworms made this book a winner in my eyes.
The plot is definitely gory and showed definite promise. An aggressive, overkill of a man start of a New Year – an overkill that the cops hope that won’t ever be repeated but know that their hope is useless. And while the foundation showed promise, it did have its own potholes. For a serial killer to be accepted as a serial killer there has to be a minimum of 3 murders – which this book did not almost have. And more to the fact, the plot felt more of a window into Chakradhar’s past and current life – his thoughts, his feelings and his opinions and while I appreciated this insight, I did not like the fact that for 75% this was what the book focused and the investigation sort of happened behind the scenes.
But beyond this, this book was brilliantly done and Ms.Sapare shows a an amazing talent and has done remarkable job of showing Pune and definitely Indian culture and mindset, with enough cynicism that you have no choice but to think of your own thoughts and your beliefs with a new perspective.
Ms.Sapare is an author I would definitely keep a lookout for!
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .5
This is a book that would hook you in – so yes I would recommend it you – especially if you like finding new authors to read and love the Crime genre 😀
Rumour Books India (RBI) is one of India’s youngest and leading publishing house, and is the only publisher from North India to have a national presence.
Founded in 2013 by Mr. Reekrit Serai and Ms. Radhika Panickar, RBI has, in the brief period since its inception, already scaled the bestsellers’ lists on Amazon, Flipkart, Crossword and Th