14 August, 2015

#BookReview :: A Minute To Death by Ganga Bharani Vasudevan

Murder most foul or an open-and-shut case of routine suicide?

Young, vivacious and an aspiring writer, Riya wants nothing more from her longtime crush/boyfriend than to let her in on one of his exciting investigations. After all, what better source material for a book than a real life tragedy?

No-nonsense veteran cop, Rohan picks a case of probable suicide to satisfy Riya’s needs. Little does he know that there is more to this case than meets the eye.

What made the victim hang herself at the break of dawn? What is the secret that her group of friends is hiding? Will Riya be able to salvage a workable plot for her upcoming novel out of this case of seemingly simple suicide?

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Inspector Rohan is a no-nonsense cop, who is called to what looks like a suicide case. Since Rohan likes being thorough he picks up on the small things at the scene. They create a doubt in his mind whether it is really a suicide case or not. He follows up diligently even though he faced a dead end at every turn… Riya is an aspiring writer who wanted to get some real life experience for her book. She uses her connection to Rohan to get in on the case and follow the police procedures. She brings in a fresh pair of eyes into the case and being of the age of the victim, she also provides some useful insights. 

The thing about this book that stands out the most is its plot. The author has come up with an ingenious plot that is quite gripping. It is a treat to a mystery aficionado. The author has left enough breadcrumbs for the readers to follow them up and play the guessing game. I have to admit that I had some very wild theories and one of them did turn out to be true. But the fact that I guessed it right did not take away much from the story as the mystery unfolded at the very end. The characters are another thing… As a bookworm, I loved the fact that one of the leading characters was an aspiring writer and finding references to different books was a treat. Two side characters were avid readers as well and I enjoyed relating to how one of them would ignore the world and dive into the latest book by her favourite author. I was in two minds about Rohan throughout the novel. On one hand he felt like a strict and macho police officer. On the other hand we also see a romantic side of him. But what spoiled it for me by being over-emotional at certain points. Riya is a character that I liked right from the beginning – a feminine persona who can handle her Pulsar and is an aspiring writer – what’s not to like?

The thing that held me back from rating this book 5 out of 5 stars is its narrative and dialogue delivery. I have read the author’s debut novel Just You, Me and a Secret and while I do see the development in the author’s style, I was expecting more. The narrative and dialogue delivery was a bit too informal – more like between two besties than something you expect in a book. Also, the romance scenes in the book need some work on it.

Also, I love the fact that the Indian youth is finally breaking away from the trend of writing trashy romance novel for its commercial value.  This is a mystery novel delivered by a young female author and I am glad of the fact. It might sound a menial thing (especially to the international readers here) but I think every small step taken towards the less trodden path should be applauded.

Review Copy received from the Author

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