Murder in Paharganj
Author: Kuldeep Yadav
Blurb (as on Goodreads):
On a cold December morning, a white woman is found murdered in a cheap hotel in Paharganj, New Delhi. Vicks Menon, an out-of-work journalist, is tipped off by the hotel’s receptionist and is the first to arrive at the crime scene, where he discovers a lead. It’s the bus ticket used by the dead woman two days earlier. But Vicks is battling personal trouble. He has no money, an alcohol problem, and a nearly broken relationship with Tonya, his estranged live-in partner, a clinical psychologist who specializes in profiling hardened criminals. Moving in and out of the shadows, Vicks pushes his investigation harder as it takes him from Udaipur to Bangkok. On his side, for resources, he has a nameless intelligence operative, and to read minds, a lover who is beginning to trust him again. But above all, his instinct to stay inches ahead of death will be the key to his survival. If Vicks lives, this is one story that will change his life forever.
A woman is found murdered in a cheap hotel in Paharganj. Vicks Menon, an Investigative journalist reaches the crime scene first and starts deducing conclusions after a thorough look at the crime scene. An investigation that takes him to Udaipur and finally Bangkok. But it’s not been a cakewalk for Vicks. He faces life-threatening situations and is face-to-face with the killer innumerable times. It’s not just the murder. Greater things are brewing among countries, the things that a threat to the national security. Will Vicks unravel the mystery behind this murder? And most importantly, will he survive this investigation?
Murder in Paharganj is a collection of events. Each event is a part of a bigger scheme connecting three countries and the rivalry they share. The central theme comprises of the usual- Murder, deceit and dirty politics. Topics like nuclear weapons and missiles also form a part of the story.
The writing style is impressive (minus the plot). There are cliffhangers at the end of almost all the chapters and there’s a detailed description of events, thoughts, and characters. A thorough research has been done on the different topics (however minute) the plot covers.
The plot comes as a disappointment. I liked the writing style. But there’s too much information and their timings are horrible. Vicks has an interesting persona and his character is intriguing initially, but takes a dip towards the middle and goes hay where at the end. Vicks is also extremely stubborn and reckless and has no clue what he’s doing whatsoever.
The plot has all the elements of a thriller- life-threatening situations, secrets, betrayals, secret agencies, smart people (a little too smart sometimes) etc. Somewhere in the plot Vicks stops being the protagonist. He is alcohol-centered and he contributes absolutely nothing to the plot. He’s just chasing the killer rather than chasing the motive. He’s delusional and is devoid of any sense of planning.
Then we have the names. ‘Vicks’ as a name is the disturbing element in the book. What’s worse is ‘Tonya’. If the author wanted to give a Bengali touch to the name (which I’m guessing he wanted to, that or he has a fascination towards strange names) it should’ve been ‘Taniya’. Such a bummer.
This book has so much potential and the blurb sounds promising. But it’s like reading a case study (with romance). You can’t do anything because the author has all the cards and he is revealing them himself rather than letting the characters take the lead. There are important themes that have been sidelined just to give Vicks a purpose. The plot of full of show-piece characters. They are just there. No greater good. Murder in Paharganj is a Vicks Menon thriller and the only things scary about it is his personal life and the choices he makes throughout.
A decent thriller, pick this one if you wanna chill and read something that will not take up much of your energy.
Purchase Link: |Amazon Paperback|
Do you like thrillers? Do you think romance is an essential part of any genre?