'Akurle is just the first to die.
To find out who is next, find me first.'
One muggy afternoon in Mumbai, a senior police officer is found murdered at his desk. When Inspector Virkar from the Crime Branch arrives at the scene, he finds a cryptic note that spills out of a student’s compass box. Then begins a series of killings and in each, a tell-tale compass box reveals more clues.
Accompanied by the attractive, ambitious TV reporter, Raashi Hunerwal, Virkar has to race against time to catch the killer before the bodies pile up. As the investigation shuttles from Mumbai to Khandala to Belgaum, Virkar is taken deep into a labyrinth of backroom deals that lead to shocking revelations about the ruthless killer’s motives. Slick plot twists and high-adrenaline action mark the story where Virkar finally confronts the killer himself.
Piyush Jha's films are noted for the unconventionality of the subject matter and treatment. For instance, Chalo America is about young college boys and emigration. Similarly, Sikandar has young teenagers as the leads, while King of Bollywood has a British Documentary filmmaker through whose eyes the story unfolds.
Similarly, his book also unfolds the story in a rather unconventional manner. It is a remarkable crime thriller story set with Mumbai as its backdrop, but I felt it lacked depth in the plot/characters/emotions. It is a fascinating read, but it won't leave you craving for more. None of the characters are so well developed to make you fall in love with them, except Inspector Virkar who is tough, daring and relentless in his pursuit of justice, a policeman one wishes every city had.
I wish the author had spent some more time on refining his work emotionally by sharing some more flashback sequences showing the development of bond between Tracy and Hari. That way the readers might have connected to Hari emotionally to understand his feelings.
It is fast paced and gripping one time read.
You can definitely visualize the entire story unfolding in front of you as a Mumbaistan movie.
The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.